Center for Catalysis and Chemical Synthesis (3CS)

Based on a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2006, Caltech has established the Center for Catalysis and Chemical Synthesis (3CS). This center includes state-of-the-art robotic instrumentation for the high throughput screening, discovery and analysis of novel chemical entities for catalysis and chemical synthesis. The facility has the capability to investigate reactions at a range of temperatures and pressures under inert atmosphere conditions and analyze the results rapidly using highly sensitive analytic instrumentation. The facility is located on the third floor of the new Schlinger Laboratory for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.


  • Freeslate Core Module - Benchtop
  • Freeslate Core Module - Nitrogen Drybox with Cooling system to -45 degC
  • 2 Zinsser Robotic Systems
  • 3 Biotage Microwave Reactors
  • 1 Agilent 1100 LCMS
  • 1 Agilent 1290 UHPLC-MS (6140 detector) for ultra-fast analysis
  • 2 Agilent semi-preparative HPLC systems
  • 1 Agilent 1200 preparative HPLC
  • 2 Agilent GC systems with robotic autosamplers
  • 1 Thar analytical supercritical fluid carbon dioxide chromatographic system
  • 1 Thales-Nano H-Cube Flow hydrogenation system
  • 1 Agilent TOF LCMS
  • 1 Agilent GC-MS system
  • 1 Jasco preparative SFC system

Examples of operations performed at the 3CS

Reaction parameter optimization in 96 well format
Kinetics sampling of 6-12 reactions at selected timepoints 
Crystallization setup in 96-well layer-diffusion format 
Parallell synthesis of ligands

3CS Robot
Credit: Scott Virgil












The 3CS facility is available to the Caltech research community for applications related to the discovery and development of methods for chemical catalysis and synthesis. The operation of the robotic instrumentation is based on design of the experiment using Library Studio Software and implementation of the design using specific protocols for operation of the robotic equipment. In most cases, modification of the protocols allows the most efficient operation of the robot for the desired procedure. Scott Virgil will assist in the planning of the experiment.

Contact Information

Scott Virgil, Ph.D.
Office: 301A Schlinger
Lab: 312 Schlinger
Telephone: (626) 395-3340

Mailing address

Scott Virgil
Department of Chemistry
California Institute of Technology
1200 East California Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91125

Instrument Signup

Select "3CS Facility" on the web calendar