At the core of any laboratory are systems that are used for measuring aspects. Our acceptance of empiricism, which shapes our scientific methodology, is the reason why. We want repeatable, measurable experiments on which we can collect data – this is why the microplate reader finds great use among scientists.
What is a microplate reader?
The device in question is a multimodal laboratory instrument. It measures biological, chemical, or physical reactions and properties. Its main pulling power is that it can measure and perform various experiments synchronously, which leads to fast and economical as well as incredibly accurate results. By minimizing time and cost, the Microplate Reader helps to focus on data analysis and research.
Scientists can place a large tray of samples into what looks like an industrial paper printer. The simultaneous aspect of the measuring is conducive to scaling up wide commercial, public, or experimental use.
What can the device be used for?
Microplate readers have become particularly important in today’s world of a pandemic, as they’re a great resource for drug discovery. Optical signals are emitted from the biochemical processes, which the microplate reader detects, signals, and subsequently quantified. In other words, the microplate reader detects the light signals that are given off by the samples. As in every stock photo of a laboratory you have ever seen, these samples are placed in microplates with a pipet.
How does the reader work?
Some of the most common optical signals are fluorescence intensity, luminescence, and absorbance. However, there are tons of other advanced modes. The light signals generated by a sample are measured by a PMT detector, which converts photons into electricity. Electricity, of course, now makes it easy to quantify and measure objectively.
3456 samples can be measured within seconds. This efficiency in reducing operating time is a way to save costs, and as a researcher, this becomes an unbearably limiting factor in your research. Generally, researchers will take advantage of the time that the microplate reader generates by allocating more time to data analysis.
The various reagent kits available make it possible to transfer the microplate reader to other fields with different applications. They are now common in food, cosmetic, and environmental research, among other industries.
Which detection modes to look out for
Different detection methods are needed for different assays. The first detection mode to consider is absorbance, which measureshow much light is absorbed as it passes through a sample. Secondly, fluorescence intensity measures the absorption of light energy. In other words, its transmission to emission light.
Luminescence refers to the emission of light without prior excitation and is used to study CellTiterGlo (cell viability assay), adual-luciferase reporter assay, and BRET-based assays. Fluorescence polarization is also a separate detection mode, which polarizes light to excite fluorescent molecules.
There is also AlphaScreen, Nephelometry, TR-FRET, and others. Of course, the researcher can always choose a single-mode reader, although a multi-mode reader may offer more performance for the price. The learning curve of microplate readers is relatively short, which is another reason for their success. Whilethere are alternatives to individual measurement modes, the microplate reader is multimodal, making it a versatile instrument for any laboratory.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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