Metrolab Blog

BioTek technologies: Hybrid Optics

At one time, scientists had to make an important decision when purchasing a multi-detection microplate reader: Do I need filter-based or monochromator-based optical system? With BioTek’s patented Hybrid Technology there is no need to choose, since both systems are available within the same compact product. Each type of optics offers advantages and limitations, but in combination, the benefits are clear for users requiring the best flexibility and performance.

Hybrid Optics

Monochromator-based optics

The monochromator-based optical system in BioTek’s Hybrid multi-mode readers uses a quadruple grating design similar to those found in high-end analytical instruments. Monochromators in fluorescence provide the same ease of use as monochromators in absorbance – wavelength selection is done through Gen5, without having to think about filter availability. It’s like having a drawer full of fluorescence filters available to me without the associated cost. Monochromators can also be used for wavelength scanning for obtaining both excitation and emission peaks.

In a typical colorimetric assay, an enzyme/substrate reaction causes a color change in the samples in the microplate.



Monochromator-based optics in BioTek’s Hybrid system.





Filter-based optics

The filter-based optical system in BioTek’s Hybrid readers uses deep blocking bandpass filters on the excitation and emission sides, plus dichroic mirrors. This design provides very strong sample excitation as well as efficient stray-light rejection, for very high signal-to-noise ratios.

Filter-based optics in BioTek’s Hybrid system.





Filter-based optics in BioTek’s Hybrid system.




Filter-based optics have other advantages and are more cost effective than monochromator systems, they have very efficient light transmission, wavelength switching is typically faster and filters can be tailored to specific fluorescent dyes.

Hybrid Technology Benefits:

  • Convenient, flexible wavelength selection
  • Spectral scanning capability
  • Excellent sensitivity in all modes including fluorescence polarization and time-resolved fluorescence
  • Fast wavelength switching
  • Ease of use through Gen5 software

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