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How an Automated Liquid Handling Station Works

Liquid handling has a pivotal role in a wide range of experimental applications with researchers worldwide depending on a variety of different pipetting methods on a daily basis.

by Thermo Fisher Scientific
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Problem: Liquid handling has a pivotal role in a wide range of experimental applications with researchers worldwide depending on a variety of different pipetting methods on a daily basis. One issue often encountered is that accurate dispensing is extremely time consuming and ensuring that precise volumes are pipetted across all samples is of extreme importance to experimental integrity. Manual pipetting can often be laborious and there are many potential sources of error. Therefore, manual liquid handling can often create bottlenecks during preparation and handling processes.

The 6-position automated liquid handler is compatible with eight interchangeable pipetting heads, and a total available volume range of 0.1 μl to 300 μl.

Solution: An automated liquid handling station will help to eliminate the bottlenecks often encountered at the sample preparation stage, speeding up the entire process to increase experimental efficiency and productivity. The automation of research workflows helps to streamline complex screening procedures and frees-up scientists’ time for other valuable experimental processes. The Thermo Scientific Matrix PlateMate series of automated liquid handling platforms is designed to perform a variety of liquid handling tasks for a wide range of applications, providing added value to any laboratory. Furthermore, the use of a lowvolume dispensing workstation enables the laboratory to minimize reagent consumption and thus any associated costs. All models of the PlateMate 2x3 and PlateMate Plus feature the same innovative technology to simplify the process of low-volume dispensing and increase workflow efficiency.

The Matrix PlateMate 2x3 is available in two different models; the standalone workstation operates independently of any other processes, while the robotic-friendly model is easily integrated into larger automated systems. With a versatile 6-position deck, this workstation is able to automate plateto- plate transfers, plate reformatting and serial dilutions, making it compatible with a wide range of applications, including vacuum extraction or filtration and thermally controlled procedures. Compatible with air or positive displacement pipetting technology, it is able to dispense volumes ranging from 0.1 μl to 300 μl, while ensuring excellent data quality is obtained through the highly-accurate pipetting of small quantities. For example, accurate dispensing of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is extremely difficult due to its low viscosity. However, the positive displacement pipetting head of the PlateMate 2x3 is able to accurately dispense 0.1 μl of DMSO with minimal reagent waste at a coefficient of variation (%CV) within the published specifications for precision. The use of the innovative technology of the proprietary PocketTip D.A.R.T.s further reduces the %CV to less than 6 percent, while enabling the dispensing of accurate volumes as low as 50 nL.

The Matrix PlateMate Plus is designed for medium to high throughput liquid handling applications and has walkaway functionality. With integrated 25 or 50 plate capacity stackers, this workstation is able to effectively shuttle labware to and from the pipetting head using 4 independent microplate stages. These stackers also have the capability to de-lid microplates to accommodate sensitive liquid handling applications. This streamlining enables multiple processes to be automated on one platform, further enhancing experimental efficiency of complex screening procedures. Furthermore, the incorporation of two software-controlled peristaltic pumps enables the reservoir vessels or tip wash station fluid supply to be replenished automatically throughout the duration of the workflow.

The PlateMate product range provides efficient and versatile low-volume dispensing systems that enable researchers to benefit from a hassle-free, smooth-running workflow, as well as reduced reagent consumption.

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