Fluorescence and luminescence analyser

Amersham Biosciences

Challenge
Design and engineer a fluorescence and luminescence microplate reader for high throughput screening.

Approach
We deployed a cross-functional team to solve various optical, exterior design and prototyping challenges.

Outcome
The first set of prototypes were built and tested in our facilities. LEADseeker was as a fully automated plate reader which can scan >1000 microplates per day. The first set of prototypes were built and tested in our facilities.

The brief was to design a microplate-based fluorescence and luminescence reader system for high throughput screening, with robust, reliable optics and a simple user interface.

optics

We deployed a team of mechanical, electrical and optical engineers to design and develop the LEADseeker system. The entire microplate is imaged by a single camera and high performance lens. One of the main challenges was to achieve even illumination of the microplates using a variety of excitation sources. The casework had to be light-tight and stray light from the source had to eliminated.

To make the system entirely hands-free it was necessary to automate selection of both the emission and excitation filters. The filter automation allowed for a selection of six excitation wavelengths and four emission wavelengths.

Thanks to the filter systems and their automation, the camera was able to produce high resolution images while being able to interrogate the luminescence and fluorescence of the sample.

optics

In addition to devising the functioning technical system we improved the user interface. This included an easy plate loading and unloading solution housed in a sleek outer design.

While the formal transfer to volume manufacture took place, we built and tested the first set of prototypes in our Cambridge facilities. LEADseekerâ„¢ was able to function as a fully automated system for high-throughput screening; it could image plates in seconds while the automation process allowed for hundreds of plates to be processed.