Automation platforms employ sample arrays that need access but must be protected from well-to-well cross contamination. Current accepted standard laboratory protocols are concerned with a proven cross contamination vector of the plate-sealing-tape removal process. The tape is currently peeled back from the entire plate by hand, generating adhesive strings that cross wells, aerosolize solvents and analytes, and can contaminate other open wells. Additionally, the manual tape removal process can jostle the wells, spilling and mixing products into adjacent wells. Currently, to circumvent these issues, much slower and more time consuming processes are performed instead of tape sealing such as removal of samples from the plate and processing with individual capillary tubes which is a tremendous disadvantage in both time and expense. Or, entire rows and columns are left unused to reduce sample proximity, which doubles the number of plates required and similarly increases the analysis time.


LLNL's multi-well plate cover penetration system is an array cutting and tape folding tool, based on 96-well, 384-well, and 1536-well geometries, that can be robotically operated and will cut, open, and fold inward the sealing tape so that samples can be subsequently aspirated without the need for human intervention to remove the seal which is an aerosol generating and contaminating process).


This device will eliminate cross contamination and automate another step in the experimental protocol, improving accuracy while reducing both time and expense.

Potential Applications

Common multi-well formats include 96-well, 384-well, and the new 1536-well plates that are utilized in research, academia, and industry. Uses for LLNL’s multi-well plate cover system include bench-top automated reagent mixing and analysis systems such as those used for bioterrorism analysis, clinical and medical diagnostics, genetic analysis and sequencing, drug discovery, protein crystallography, biological engineering, environmental monitoring and analysis, biological and chemical research, and forensics.

Development Status

A patent application has been filed (US Patent application 11/342,361; published 2007/0172393). A marketing prototype is under development for evaluation.

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