New Developments for a Full Automation of the FIP Beamline at the ESRF
FIP (French beamline for the Investigation of Proteins) at the ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) pushed developments in automation to reach a fully automated beamline. - The energy adjustment and beam optimization are completely automated . - The screening of the different protein crystals is ensured by a robotic system: CATS (Cryogenic Automated Transfer System)  now commercialized by IRELEC. - In addition, this robot offers the possibility to analyze crystals directly as they grow in drops inside crystallization plates .
FIP has then developed in collaboration with GREINER Bio-One a new crystallization plate devoted to this new application. - The centering of the protein crystal is improved using the installed UV laser . - The automation of the data recording and processing with ADP (Automated Data Processing)  has also been achieved. - The remote access to FIP is available via a ssh access. - The FIP team pushed automation even further and used the robot to replace the diffractometer.
Ultimately the robot will be able not only to position the crystals in the X-ray beam, but also to rotate the crystals accurately for data recording . Since the beamline was launched in 1999, more than 180 structures have been resolved on FIP.