Automation of experiments is a key component on the path of digitalisation in catalysis and related sciences. Here we present the lessons learned and caveats avoided during the automation of our contactless conductivity measurement set-up, capable of operando measurement of catalytic samples. We briefly discuss the motivation behind the work, the technical groundwork required, and the philosophy guiding our design. The main body of this work is dedicated to the detailing of the implementation of the automation, data structures, as well as the modular data processing pipeline. The open-source toolset developed as part of this work allows us to carry out unattended and reproducible experiments, as well as post-process data according to current best practice. This process is illustrated by implementing two routine sample protocols, one of which was included in the Handbook of Catalysis, providing several case studies showing the benefits of such automation, including increased throughput and higher data quality. The datasets included as part of this work contain catalytic and operando conductivity data, and are self-consistent, annotated with metadata, and are available on a public repository in a machine-readable form. We hope the datasets as well as the tools and workflows developed as part of this work will be an useful guide on the path towards automation and digital catalysis.
Example log files, data summaries, overview of the instrument, detailed description of instrument components.