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Chapter 9: Optimization Techniques for Automation and High Throughput


    Naomi E. Chayen


    The main effort in the area of crystallization for structural genomics is currently being invested in automation of high-throughput screening procedures to identify potential crystallization conditions. However, screening in itself, even in massive quantities, is not enough; it has to be complemented by an equally important procedure in crystal production, namely crystal optimization. This chapter describes optimization methods for turning low-quality crystals into useful diffracting ones and presents practical ways of automating such methods and adapting them to high throughput. The methods enable the control of the crystallization environment as the trial takes place. They include the use of oils, gels, and the uncoupling of the nucleation and growth phases of crystallization.