The Right Choice for Microplate Readers

By Rachel Muenz

Microplate readers are used to discern either physical, chemical, or biological events in microtiter plates and are common in academic organizations and the biotech, pharmaceutical, and drug discovery industries, as well as in research. These instruments are continuing to progress towards better throughput, flexibility and functionality as users demand even greater instrument reliability, easy-to-use software and a short learning curve. In academic research, 96-well plates are the most common, while in industry, 384-well plates are the norm. The latest microplate readers have also been affected by the need to use fewer reagents and consume less sample. Those looking to buy a new microplate reader should consider their current vs. future needs and whether or not they require single or multimode reading capabilities. Buyers should also think about system versatility, sensitivity, the number of staff they expect to use the instrument, and what specific applications they will be using the reader for. For medium- to high-throughput labs, throughput and automation are also important features to have in a microplate reader while they are not as significant in basic research and academic organizations. Consulting your vendor is also important in making the right choice of reader for your lab.


  • Academic or industrial research
  • Drug discovery
  • Bioassay validation
  • QC and manufacturing processes
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Biotechnology industry

Biotek Synergy™ H1
BioTek’s Synergy™ H1 multi-mode microplate reader is a flexible, high value quadruple-grating monochromatorbased reader for UV-Vis absorbance, top and bottom fluorescence and luminescence assays. In addition, the modular Synergy H1 may be upgraded at any time to a “hybrid” reader with a high-performance filter module for ultra-sensitive FP, TRF, TR-FRET and BRET assays

  • Powered by Gen5™ Data Analysis Software
  • Provides advanced reader control and data analysis
  • Compatible with BioTek’s Take3™ and Take3 Trio micro-volume plates
  • Allows multi-volume, multi-sample measurements in up to 48 2 µL microspots

The Atmospheric Control Unit (ACU) is an accessory that addresses the growth of cell-based experiments in microplate format. The ACU controls the environment within the microplate reader chamber using two independently regulated valves for both oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). It allows all types of cell-based assays to be performed within a microplate reader.

  • Allows cellular conditions such as hypoxia or anoxia to be induced to mimic disease states
  • Provides ideal atmospheric conditions for all types of cell-based assays
  • Features easy programming of any gas concentration combination
  • Gives users a walk-away solution for microplate reader experiments

Molecular Devices SpectraMax Paradigm
Recently, Molecular Devices announced the addition of the TUNE detection cartridge to the SpectraMax Paradigm Multi-Mode Microplate Detection Platform. The technology of TUNE with wavelength flexibility in a monochromator device and up to 10x the sensitivity benefits both the research and screening markets. TUNE helps make this microplate reader one of the most flexible on the market.

  • Included software reduces the assay setup time by more than 50%
  • Allows users to read what they want, when they want
  • Provides on-the-fly detection for reduced read times
  • Features a plate format of up to 1536-wells and dual PMTs
  • A good fit for high sensitivity and throughput demands
Categories: Lab Products

Published In

Is the Rollercoaster Ride Over? Magazine Issue Cover
Is the Rollercoaster Ride Over?

Published: March 1, 2012

Cover Story

Is the Roller Coaster Ride Over?

The laboratory industry enjoyed several years of robust growth from the late 1990s until 2003. Record research and development (R&D) investments by the biopharmaceutical industry, in combination with the doubling of the U.S. National Institutes budget, allowed for continual double-digit growth rates.