chameleon Overview 3.0

chameleon automates the sample preparation of cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM) grids. It is designed to work with custom self-wicking grids that are manufactured by SPT Labtech. 

The core operating principle of the instrument centers on dispensing small quantities of sample onto a self-wicking grid that is then rapidly plunged into a liquid cryogen.  

The instrument consists of the following key modules: a multi axis robot that is used to manipulate the grid, a multi axis robot that is used to manipulate a picolitre dispenser, a cryogen drawer that contains the liquid cryogens, a humidifier, a variety of pumps and valves that are associated with operating and cleaning the dispenser, and a glow discharge unit that is fitted with an automated lid. 

The robots are housed in an enclosed area that is fitted with doors which can be opened by the user. These doors are fitted with interlock switches integrated in a safety interlock system which protects users during chameleon operation. 

chameleon is supplied with a control PC and control software. This is workflow/wizard-based and makes use of automated sequences of operation to simplify the implementation of chameleon's functions. 

chameleon has two areas that are accessible to users: 

  1. grid preparation zone 
  1. liquid consumable and humidifier zone 

Additionally there is an electrical control zone which is solely for the use of reliance engineers.

chameleon outline pics

Next article - chameleon Overview - 3.1 Intended use