Proceedings in Radiochemistry
A Supplement to Radiochimica Acta
Automation of column-based radiochemical separations: a comparison of fluidic, robotic, and hybrid architectures
Two automated systems have been developed to perform column-based radiochemical separation procedures. These new systems are compared with past fluidic column separation architectures, with emphasis on using disposable components so that no sample contacts any surface that any other sample has contacted, and setting up samples and columns in parallel for subsequent automated processing. In the first new approach, a general purpose liquid handling robot has been modified and programmed to perform anion exchange separations using 2 mL bed columns in 6 mL plastic disposable column bodies. In the second new approach, a fluidic system has been developed to deliver clean reagents through disposable manual valves to six disposable columns, with a mechanized fraction collector that positions one of four rows of six vials below the columns. The samples are delivered to each column via a manual 3-port disposable valve from disposable syringes. This second approach, a hybrid of fluidic and mechanized components, is a simpler more efficient approach for performing anion exchange procedures for the recovery and purification of plutonium from samples. The automation architectures described can also be adapted to column-based extraction chromatography separations.