Optimization of Automated Liquid Handlers

Regular Instrument Performance Checks Help Ensure Accurate Reagent Volume Transfer

Over the past 20 years, laboratories around the world have been turning to liquid handling robots to increase the throughput and reproducibility of a wide range of assays. This widespread implementation of automation has contributed to significant advances in our understanding of science and medicine. Speed and reproducibility, however, do not guarantee accurate assay results. Assay results are dependent on reagent concentrations, which are volume-dependent. If a liquid handler is inaccurate in the volumes it dispenses, actual reagent concentrations can vary dramatically from those intended.

Most liquid handlers can be highly precise, but some can also be inaccurate when default methods and settings are employed. These performance variations may go unnoticed if volume transfer accuracy is not checked. As with pipettes, liquid handlers can also introduce errors into an assay process. Volume accuracy is especially important in any assay when a critical or limiting reagent is dispensed and when a quantitative result is expected, such as in drug discovery and molecular diagnostics. Additionally, monitoring volume transfer performance helps ensure that laboratories are meeting regulatory and/or compliance guidelines.

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