Microplate readers, also known as plate readers, are one of the most frequently used and most common laboratory tools in areas that include life science research and drug discovery. Plate readers are used in a multitude of applications, including the clinical analysis of biological, physical, or chemical reactions conducted within the microplates. The plate reader acquires and processes biochemical and biological data in a controlled environment. Plate reader laboratory instruments are used to detect biological and chemical changes in specimens and samples and are widely used in many areas of clinical analysis and research that involves assay development, bioassay validation, quality control, disease studies, and more in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
As plate readers are frequently used for regular validation in any clinical analysis setting, it is essential to ensure that the test results obtained when using the plate readers are not only highly accurate, but also of the highest quality. For this to be possible, the components used inside the plate readers should be highly reliable. Even though there are different types of plate readers available, each meant for a specific purpose, one of the most common types of components found in all plate readers are either brushless DC motors or stepper motors, depending on the specific purposes of the equipment.
The three most common microplate size configurations are 96, 384, or 1536-well microplates, and the most common types of examination and determination of the characteristics of the samples (assay) in the microplates are absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence. For clinical diagnostic laboratories or academic research laboratories, plate readers with 96-well are typically used. Higher plate readers like 1536-well are used for screening applications as they are better suited to process bioassay cost per sample and the quantity of samples processed each day.
Absorbance type of assay, also known as photometric, is the conversion of radiant energy into another form of energy by the interaction of microplates with matter. When a molecular absorption of light energy by a molecule with an instantaneous emission of reduced energetic photos takes place giving a longer wavelength, then it's the fluorescence type of assay. Luminescence is the chemiluminescence (chemical) or bioluminescence (biochemical) energy. Plate readers are bought depending on whether the plate readers are required to perform only one assay or for multiple assays. Single mode plate readers are ideal where the reader will perform only one type of assay. However, if the plate readers are required to perform a variety of different assays, then multi-mode plate readers are recommended.
Plate readers differ in terms of the range of wavelength, response time, and the level of accuracy. Plate readers also vary in terms of the type of features they offer. These features, which can maintain or drive sample reactions, include temperature control, shakers, and dispensers. Temperature control in plate readers can help maintain a specific temperature in the plate readers so that the critical reactions of the samples can provide results without intervention, or drive reactions and speed up the process by making it hotter. Shakers are used to agitate the specimen and to speed up the process and to provide a reading. Dispensers can add additional reactant material into the microplates to provide a secondary look at the analysis and comparing it with the primary sample without removing the microplates, thereby avoiding any potential contamination.
Motors are used to drive all motor axes in the plate readers. For superior precision movements and highly accurate positioning of microplates, syringes, cams, and other functionalities of a plate reader, NMB stepper motors and brushless DC motors provide highly reliable and smooth operation. NMB motors are also a great choice for long-lasting motors and motors that have low-noise and low-maintenance requirements. Additionally, NMB motors can be customized according to the plate reader design requirement. Get in touch with NMB for more information on the types of motors and bearings best suited for your component needs.