Automation Made Easy
In addition to the externally accessible sample tray, plate handling is also automated in qTOWER³ auto. The 96 well microplate is positioned precisely within the block and, following amplification, is unloaded just as efficiently. Visualizing a continuous workflow is easy and reliable. The concept of automated real-time PCR accommodates a variety of integration strategies. The length of the cable for the decoupled electronics module is up to 10 m, making it easy to integrate from a decentralized location. The size of the rest of the instrument is then only just 27.5 cm x 46 cm x 31 cm (W x H x D), and the height of the sample tray (minimum = 12 cm) is easy to adjust. The cycler unit can be positioned next to the liquid handling system to save space, in which case the plate is loaded using an external robotic arm (as used in the CyBi®-Carry) or by directly connecting the sample tray to the liquid handling station.
Optimum Data Handling
The system automatically carries out the following steps as a basis for all further analyses: performs threshold and Ct determinations on each sample, generates standard curves, and determines PCR efficiency. Depending on the assay and the desired level of information, these are followed immediately by the below shown methods:
- Absolute or relative quantification
- ddCt method with or without efficiency
- Determination of point mutations using probe based, allelic discrimination (genotyping)
- POS/NEG analysis by endpoint determination
- Melting curves and protein analysis
- Multi gene or multi plate analysis respectively
High-Performance Optical System
The automated cycler is every bit as powerful as the comparable stand-alone version of qTOWER³. The heart of the high-performance optical system (FOS – Fiber Optic System) is the patented, optical shuttle with 8 optic fibers, which optimizes excitation for each individual sample, while detecting the emitted fluorescence signals with extraordinary homogeneity. The system is rounded out by its novel light source, which consists of 4 long-lasting, intense LEDs in red, green, blue and white (RGBW), delivering highly selective extinction as a function of the selected dye.
qTOWER³ auto is equipped with supporting filter modules that include a finely tuned set of excitation and emission filters. Depending on the application, customers can choose from 6 Color Modules, 5 FRET Modules and one Protein Module, up to 6 of which can be installed in the instrument. This allows the system to carry out highly sophisticated multiplex applications, from the blue to near infrared range. The system reads out the 96 well plate in just 6 seconds, regardless of the number of filter modules.
Modern Silver Sample Block
The sample block is the foundation of any PCR or real-time PCR system. qTOWER³ auto uses a combination of high-quality silver and a gold coating to generate heating rates of up to 8 °C/ sec. At the same time, the system also delivers excellent control accuracy to within just
± 0.1 °C of the target temperature. The optimized temperature control algorithm makes the thermocycler the ideal system for quantitative and qualitative real-time PCR applications. In addition, qTOWER³ auto also comes equipped with a motorized heating lid that can be set to temperatures of up to 110 °C. The optimum, automatic contact pressure of the heating lid perfectly seals the PCR plates used.