Author: Monk, B.L.
Paper Title Page
Robotic Sample Changer for Remote and Mail-In In Situ X-ray Scattering Experiments and Adjustable Beam Attenuation System  
  • B.L. Monk, A.A. Yakovenko
    ANL, Lemont, Illinois, USA
  Funding: Work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science under Control DE-AC02-06CH11357.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a highly increased need for remote beamline operations. Usually, in situ X-ray scattering experiments require significant onsite user and beamline staff presence, making them difficult and often impractical during limited operations. One of the major problems was the switching of capillary samples for in situ heating/cooling experiments. Therefore, we developed a specialized robotic system for changing samples utilizing easily accessible standardized parts and 3-D printing. The first version of this design is fully operational and has been installed at the 17-BM beamline. This system allows for changing between 14 capillary based samples by using three stepper motor based translational stages and pneumatic gripper. The destination can be intercrossed with hot or cold air blower stream, allowing users to remotely collect X-ray powder diffraction data from multiple samples at various temperatures. Currently, we are working on the development of a second robotic system, which will fit entirely onto one breadboard. This will allow us to move the system from one beamline to another if needed. The second piece of instrumentation we have developed is a remotely operated beam attenuation system with adjustable attenuation level. The system uses electric solenoids that push tantalum foils in and out of the beam. Five solenoids each hold different numbers of foils, and can be controlled independently, allowing for a total of 32 unique attenuation levels. A 6th solenoid holds a beamstop which can be used as a fast shutter. The control and communication is performed by an Arduino Yun microcontroller. All structural parts were 3-D printed, making for a cost-effective alternative to systems currently on the market.
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