This content was provided by Tsuyoshi Ito, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF) is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) subrack facility which will investigate crystal growth phenomena in microgravity. SCOF is housed in the Ryutai (fluid) Experiment Rack, along with the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF), Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) and the Image Processing Unit (IPU).
Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF) is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) subrack facility, located in the Ryutai (fluid) Rack, which will investigate morphology and growth of crystals. The SCOF is equipped with several microscopes to simultaneously measure changes in morphology and growth conditions (temperature and concentration) of crystals. The SCOF has an amplitude modulation (AM) microscope and is equipped with two wavelength interference microscopes to simultaneously measure changes in morphology and growth conditions
SCOF is housed in Ryutai, a JAXA multipurpose payload rack used to transport, store and support experiments and subrack facilities aboard the International Space Station (ISS), along with the following JAXA subrack facilities:
Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF) supports investigations of fluid physics phenomena in microgravity.
Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) controls peltier elements (act as a heat pump) which provide temperature profiles suitable for target proteins.
Image Processing Unit (IPU) receives image data from various subrack facilities and encodes the data, then transfers the encoded data to system lines.
SCOF is scheduled for launch inside the Ryutai to the ISS on STS-123/1J/A. SCOF may be controlled by the ISS crew or remotely by the Ryutai Rack. Ryutai, containing the SCOF and other subrack facilities will be transported to the ISS in the JEM Experiment Logistics Module (ELM) aboard STS-123/1J/A. Once the Kibo is attached to the ISS, Ryutai will be transferred by the crew to a rack location inside the Kibo. After the rack is installed and checked out, the rack will be ready for subrack facility operations and will be operated as the science is scheduled. Checkout of SCOF is performed following activation of the Ryutai on the ISS.
SCOF supports telescience operation by monitoring growing crystals. Experiment parameters can be changed by sending commands from Earth. Researchers can freely design experiment unique cartridges. Interfaces for temperature control and measurement, pressure control and measurement, control of the cell stage, evacuation, and nitrogen gas supply are available. A Mach-Zehnder (MZ) interference microscope enables precise measurements of growth conditions. The MZ interference microscope employs two wavelength light sources and can simultaneously measure distributions of temperature and concentration in a solution. The amplitude modulation, polarizing, and bright-field microscopes can observe crystal shapes, surfaces, etc. Cell cartridges are available with standard dimensions of 220 mm in diameter and 65 mm in height, with temperature controls from -10 to 220 degrees C, pressure control from 1 to 147 MPa and atmosphere control (vacuum or nitrogen gas supply) are available.
SCOF may be controlled by the ISS crew or remotely by the Ryutai Rack Operator on-duty at the User Operations Area in the Space Station Integration and Promotion Center. The Rack Operator routinely checks payload integrity, temperature control and the proper working conditions of ISS research payloads.