A Rutgers-led team adapted advanced liquid-handling robotics to perform the chemistry required for synthesizing synthetic polymers. (Image: Matthew Tamasi)

Rutgers University engineers have developed an automated way to produce polymers, making it much easier to create advanced materials aimed at improving human health. While a human researcher may be able to make a few polymers a day, the new automated system – featuring custom software and a liquid-handling robot – can create up to 384 different polymers at once.

Custom software allows a liquid-handling robot to interpret polymer designs made on a computer and carry out every step of the chemical reaction.