Informatics Infrastructure for Combinatorial and High-throughput Laboratory Research Built on Open Source Code

Wenhua Zhang, Michael J. Fasolka, Alamgir Karim and Eric J. Amis

Polymers Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

NIST Combinatorial Methods Center

Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8542


Laboratory Research Informatics Systems (LRIS) hold great promise in streamlining research generally, and are particularly necessary for new data-intensive research strategies such as combinatorial and high-throughput approaches. In this paper, we describe a LRIS geared towards combi materials research, which is being established in lab facilities at the NIST Combinatorial Method Center (NCMC). NCMC data sets are large and accumulate quickly, often several gigabytes/hour. When complete, this system will seamlessly integrate the library design, fabrication, measurement and analysis/datamining aspects of the combi approach into a functional whole geared towards accelerating materials research. Our budding LRIS system is built upon an open source database (PostgreSQL), and incorporates non-proprietary user/instrument interface and automation software generated largely through the Python programming language. Free to use/modify, and designed for transparency, the NCMC LRIS project aims to provide working examples of informatics infrastructure development to those interested in assimilating such tools into their research programs.


Wenhua Zhang

Guest Researcher

Polymer Division, NIST