About Chemical Innovation - Subscription Information
February 2001
Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 18.
Starting the Process

Table of Contents

Milton Zall

The nascent paperless laboratory

Utility of SmartDocument
  1. After a chemist has drawn a reaction, the chemist’s SmartDocument (Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA) notebook page automatically calculates the stoichiometric gram quantities of the reactants needed to produce the intermediates and final products in desired quantities.
  2. The electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) searches online sources of the scientific literature for similar synthetic routes and additional publications related to the reactants, intermediates, and final products.
  3. The ELN does structure and substructure searching to locate all molecules that match within a certain range of similarity.
  4. At the chemist’s request, the ELN invokes modeling, simulation, and visualization tools to model the intermediate’s transition states and recalculate the kinetics of the reaction.
  5. The ELN is able to check the stockroom database to see whether the required chemicals are available; if they are not, it can place an EDI (electronic data interchange) transaction with the company’s chemical supplier.
  6. The chemist moves on to another experiment for the time being.
  7. Two days later, the chemical stockroom receives the shipment of chemicals and notifies the chemist.
  8. The chemist runs the synthetic experiment and gets a thick, blue crystalline substance in the bottom of the flask.
  9. The chemist takes the blue crystalline substance to the Analytical Services Department for chemical analysis.
  10. Analytical Services sends an event notification to the chemist, via an EDI, indicating that the results are ready.
  11. The ELN automatically formats and pastes the analytical results into the correct results table within the notebook page template.
  12. From the analytical results, the chemist concludes that the synthesis succeeded.
  13. The chemist authenticates the experiment by standing in front of the camera at the lab bench workstation; the ELN automatically stamps the date and time of the experiment.


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