Microplate reader provides high accuracy in small package

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PIKE Technologies maintains high quality and high accuracy with their compact spectrophotometer accessories using AllMotion’s positioning system.

August 15, 2016

PIKE Technologies’ custom spectroscopic accessories replace traditional sampling routines. The company’s goal is to provide a range of products across a broad spectrum of needs, such as a variety of sampling devices and kits, temperature controls, analysis tools, and holders.

The company’s out-of-compartment Microplate Reader is available for most ultraviolet visable spectrophotometers and provides high throughput plate reading capabilities to a wide range of traditional instruments with standard sample compartments. Technicians conducting experiments that require running samples using 24-, 96-, or 384-well assay plates for research, drug discovery, bioassay validation, or quality control gain a flexible method.

“The company’s microplate reader can be adapted to perform automated measurements of filters, optical components, and other materials in the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, wafer analysis, food analysis, cell-testing, as well as academia,” says PIKE Technologies Chief Engineer David Engerman.

Accurate positioning

Compact and portable, weighing 15 lb, and having a benchtop footprint of 11.6" x 13.7" x 6", the microplate reader incorporates scanning and fixed wavelength measurements (spectrophotometer dependent), two-fiber optic cables, 6-well to 384-well microplate reading capability, and custom configurations for automated sampling.

The team chose one AllMotion EZSV17 compact controller per axis for accurate, repeatable positioning of the sample tray. Microplate readers can use 1-, 2-, or 3-axis positioning, depending on the nature of the samples being read.

The reader offers a ±25µm accuracy with mechanical specifications of 1µm resolution and ±5µm repeatability. It features quadrature encoder-based feedback, programmable ramps and speeds, and a USB computer interface. Power requirements are 100VAC to 240VAC, 50Hz/60Hz. The EZSV17 supports stepper or servo motor solutions for automation products and systems. It is 1.6" x 1.6" (40mm x 40mm) and uses a single, four-wire bus containing two power and two communications wires. It can link up to 16 stepper/servo motor controllers in a single daisy-chain format, and can operate stand-alone or connected to a PC.

The reader can be positioned next to or above the spectrophotometer being used, and for instruments that do not support an external detector, the optical configuration features a transfer-optics module mounted in the sample compartment and light-in and light-out optical fiber cables that mount to the reader’s frame. For spectrophotometers with external detector support, the light is sent to the accessory via an optical fiber cable and collected by an on-board photodiode detector.

The mechanical design of the accessory relies on an XYZ stage with axes controlled by AllMotion EZSV17 controller drivers and driven by servo motors with optical encoders. Run time speed for a standard 96-well plate is 32 seconds; for a 384-well plate it is 84 seconds. Programming and control of the microplate reader can be completed using PIKE Technologies’ AutoPRO software package.



PIKE Technologies


Terry Persun is a contributing author for Today’s Medical Developments.