Metrolab Blog

BioTek technologies: Key features of Liquid Handling Products


1. Ultrasonic Advantage™

Poor microplate washer maintenance can lead to ELISA assay failure, system downtime, and increased costs. Unexpected clogging of the washer manifold tubes is the single largest contributor to failures, but cleaning can be a time consuming and labor intensive process. BioTek’s 405™ Microplate Washers and EL406™ Washer Dispensers can be configured with an available built-in ultrasonic cleaner to aid in routine washer maintenance. The patented Ultrasonic Advantage make the 405 and EL406 the only self-maintaining microplate washers available today, eliminating washer-associated failure and guaranteeing continued washer performance.



The priming/cleaning reservoir (circled) in the 405 Microplate Washer with Ultrasonic Advantage offers ultrasonic cleaning of both dispense and aspirate manifolds.



Ultrasonic cleaning involves the rapid formation and violent collapse of minute vacuum bubbles that implode on surface contact. This agitation by countless small and intense imploding bubbles creates a highly effective scrubbing of both the inside and outside of the washer manifold tubes. Cavitation, as this process is called, is produced by the Ultrasonic Advantage technology, which automatically pulses the ultrasonic energy into a liquid filled built-in cleaning reservoir in which the washer’s manifold tubes are fully submerged. Even heavy buildup from protein and salt crystals is dissolved from within the tubes.



The formation and subsequent collapse of a cavitation vacuum bubble is illustrated.



For years, ultrasonic technology has provided unmatched cleaning power in many applications and industries. Merging this proven technology with the world’s premier microplate washers, Ultrasonic Advantage provides complete confidence in assay performance.

verify-graphThe graph shows an initial 10 runs of Verify, with about 4% CV average. The washer is then allowed to sit idle for about 3 hrs, filled with casein protein. Verify is then run again for 5 runs, each failing with a very high % CV, indicating blockage of aspirate and dispense tubes. The 405 is cleaned using the autoclean/Ultrasonic Advantage maintenance procedure (including Tergazyme) for 1 hr. After the cleaning, Verify confirms that the average % CV is again 4% or lower over the next several runs.

Ultrasonic Advantage Benefits:

  • Incorporates the proven cleaning power of ultrasonic technology
  • Reduced failed assay incidents
  • Maintains assay integrity
  • Built-in design requires no additional bench top space
  • Cleans the toughest protein and salt crystal buildup
  • Provides unattended operation for busy laboratories
  • Restores wash performance to factory specifications

This Technology is Available in:

2. Bead washing: magnetic and polystyrene

BioTek worked extensively with major Luminex reagent partner Millipore in product development and in determination of suitable wash protocol

−Maximum bead recovery

−Efficient washing

Better than off-the-shelf 384F and 96F magnets, customized versions of separators are integrated into modified BioTek carriers for both BioStack™ and third party robot system gripper compatibility


  • Designed for flat bottomed plates
  • Has worked for some round bottom plate applications
  • Beads are pulled to even distribution across well bottom
  • Must leave a residual (~30 µL)
  • Aspiration Z height above the bottom of the well
  • Designed for 96-well flat, round or conical (PCR) bottom plates
  • Beads pulled to 4 well side “zones”
  • Enables full well evacuation (low residual <5 µL)
  • Aspiration X and Y offsets are set to 0 (center of well)
  • Aspiration Z height set to the bottom of the well

3. Vacuum Filtration Module

Suitable for 96- and 384-well magnetic bead assays and filtration-to-waste assays

Effective vacuum filtration of assay reagent material from a microplate is a function of many variables including filtration plate design factors such as membrane material, membrane pore size, well size and well shape, and assay parameters, such as the total volume and viscosity of reagents to be removed from the wells.

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