Protein Crystallography Screen Builder

Photo: Microfluidic Valves Enlarged

Build Crystallization Screens with Ease

The FORMULATOR® - Protein Crystallography Screen Builder is a next-generation liquid handler that uses patented microfluidic technology to dispense up to 34 different ingredients. A 96-nozzle dispensing chip can dispense any volume of any ingredient of any viscosity into any well.

Flexible Liquid Dispensing
- Low volumes, down to 200 nL with no upper limit
- Dispense a 100 μL, 3-ingredient, 96-well crystallization grid in 2.7 mins
- Supports all microplate types, even VDX/Linbro plates


Easy Operation
- Integrated barcode scanner automatically loads experiment and ingredient data
- Bottle sensors know where ingredients are located
- Design, Barcode, Scan, and Run


No Consumables Needed
- Reduce your lab’s costs and environmental impact


Closed Ingredient Containers
- Prevents evaporation, contamination, and noxious fumes from escaping

formulator protein crystallography screen builder

Dispense Viscous and Non-Viscous Ingredients

At the core of the FORMULATOR is a patented microfluidic chip that measures and dispenses discrete volumes of liquid. The chip has 96 outputs, each with its own microfluidic valve cluster. Each valve cluster has two micro-diaphragms (200 nL and 2.5 µL) that fill and dispense up to three times per second. By combining multiple dispenses of each micro-diaphragm, the FORMULATOR can dispense any volume down to 200 nL.

The FORMULATOR's positive displacement micro-diaphragms handle viscous and non-viscous liquids with ease and precision. Select from four viscosity settings (normal, medium, high, and very high) to define a reagent’s liquid class, and the system adjusts the diaphragm fill time to compensate.

Easily Create Screens with Up to 34 Ingredients

Easy Ingredient Switching
Adding ingredients is as easy as scanning the reagent barcode and inserting the bottle (with a specialized check-valve cap) into any open input on the top of the Formulator. Bottle sensors tell the system where you positioned each reagent automatically, eliminating user error.


Models to Fit Your Budget and Workflow
The FORMULATOR comes in 3 different models based on the number of ingredients you need to create your crystallization screens (listed on the left). The systems support both 125 mL and 250 mL Nalgene bottles, as well as, 50 mL Falcon tubes. All of the models have the same physical size and offer an optional secondary wash input for other wash solutions.


  • 9 inputs for either Nalgene bottles or 50 mL Falcon tubes
  • 1 bulk pure water input for wash or to use as an ingredient



  • 15 inputs for either Nalgene bottles or 50 mL Falcon tubes
  • 1 bulk pure water input for wash or to use as an ingredient



  • 30 inputs for 50 mL Falcon tubes
  • 3 inputs for either Nalgene bottles or 50 mL Falcon tubes
  • 1 bulk pure water input for wash or to use as an ingredient

User-Friendly Software

Formulator software provides a straightforward, user-friendly way to run even the most complicated dispensing protocols through a visual representation of your plate that displays each ingredient’s dispense volume and well location.


  • Design dispenses that vary the volume of each reagent to every well on the plate, dispense the same volume to every well, and add a backfill if necessary.

ROCK MAKER® Integration

Quickly design experiments using the ROCK MAKER Crystallization Software.  ROCK MAKER can provide a barcode to print and label for your plate with. To run the dispense list, scan the plate label using the integrated barcode scanner before placing the plate on the FORMULATOR's plate holder. The dispense design will automatically load and you're ready to run the dispense.  

Save on Reagents with MANTIS® Integration

The FORMULATOR’s dead volume is as low as 5.1 mL. To lower the dead volume even further, the FORMULATOR can be integrated with the MANTIS, a precious ingredient dispenser, to achieve dead volumes of only 6 µL.


The MANTIS integrates seamlessly with both ROCK MAKER® and the FORMULATOR, so adding the MANTIS to your existing workflow is simple. The system's software allows you pick which bulk ingredients to dispense with the FORMULATOR and which valuable ingredients are better suited for the MANTIS.

MANTIS - Liquid Handler

  • 6 µL dead volume conserves precious reagents
  • Dispense range from 100 nL up provides ultimate flexibility for screen building and optimization
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Reagent viscosity up to 25 cP
Mantis V3.2 with RFID


406 mm (16")

434 mm (17")

Height without Bottle:
359 mm (14")

Height with Bottle:
482 mm (19")

16 kg (35 lb)

formulator screen builder for protein crystallography size