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The use of spreadsheets with analytical instrumentation for laboratory automation

Authors
Publisher
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Publication Date
Volume
12
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1155/s1463924690000190
Keywords
  • Research Article
Disciplines
  • Computer Science
  • Design

Abstract

Journal of Automatic Chemistry, Vol. 12, No. 4 (July-August 1990), pp. 149-152 The use of spreadsheets with analytical instrumentation for laboratory .automation John M. Graft National Instruments, 6504 Bridge Point Parkway, Austin, Texas 78730, USA Introduction Scientists today are finding that they cannot adequately perform their jobs using manual experimentation meth- ods. The costs, inefficiencies and potential for errors are simply too high. The low cost and increasingly high performance of personal computers has led many scien- tists to choose such machines as the foundation for automating their laboratories. In addition, a personal computer provides a wealth of software to perform analysis, databasing, graphics, word-processing, and many other functions. Performing a procedure, present- ing results, or maintaining archival data are standard day-to-day tasks for a scientist. Instruments and the personal computer in the laboratory The first step toward automation in many laboratories is the use of a computer to analyse and store experimental data. The methods for performing these tasks range from user-written BASIC programs and general-purpose spreadsheet packages to specialized analysis packages. Although the spreadsheet is best known for its business applications, it can safely be called the most popular analysis software ever written for a PC. Aspreadsheet is a natural place to tabulate, analyse, and display data, as many scientists have discovered. The problem for many scientists who have used a spreadsheet for analysis and presentation of data is that they could do so only by manually entering the data or storing it in an ASCII file and importing it into a spreadsheet. At the same time that the personal computer has made computing power more accessible, instruments have been designed to be faster and more sensitive. Instruments can often transfer their data directly to a personal computer. The RS-232 serial interface is often the standard interface (or at least an optional interface

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