Cryoprotection of 2D barcoded tube scanners

Efficient sample management is dependent on being able to identify specific samples quickly and easily in a workflow.

It was difficult to select specific sample tubes effectively and quickly prior to the widespread implementation of two-dimensional (2D) datamatrix barcodes on sample tubes, especially if it was necessary to select a tube from potentially hundreds, thousands, or even millions, of others.

Greater inventory management and sample tracking capabilities have been pioneered using high-speed tube and rack scanners and modern 2D barcoded cryotubes.

A key part of successful workflows is the ability to select and decode barcodes accurately, this hinges on the scanner’s performance qualities. Losing functionality can impact a scanner’s ability to quickly scan and then decode datamatrix barcodes on tubes.

Losing functionality, even temporarily because of condensation build-up on the rack scanner and/or ice build-up on racks, can be detrimental to the entire process.

Introducing cryoprotection of scanners

When held in freezers, tube racks often accumulate ice. This is just a natural side-effect of using storing temperatures of -80°C. However, ice from the atmosphere can be gathered when racks from vapor phase liquid nitrogen are removed from the tank.

All 2D barcoded tube rack scanners are camera-based, so they need a clear, unobstructed view of a tube’s datamatrix barcode to accurately decode. Blotting the tubes with alcohol can easily correct ice build-up.

However, the temperature of the rack is particularly problematic because it causes condensation to form on the tube rack scanner glass. Cryoprotection is the best solution to issues associated with condensation caused by cold racks.

As suggested by the name, cryoprotection is a way to preserve 2D barcoded tube/rack scanner functionality when the rack is at low temperatures.

Cryoprotection is the name of a proprietary coating used on the surface of scanner windows to prevent the accumulation of condensation.

This preserves an uninterrupted workflow and all but eliminates scanning errors associated with condensation, even when tubes are being scanned directly from the freezer. However, it is key that the coating does not heat up the rack that is being scanned.

Cryoprotection of Ziath 2D barcoded tube scanners

Ziath supplies custom information management and sample solutions for all sizes of life science facilities to support research at all scales in pharmaceuticals, drug discovery and biotechnology.

The company offers the option of cryoprotection coatings on all 2D barcoded tube/rack scanners and customers who have previously opted for the full cryprotection option have given excellent testimonials.

Please note that a cold rack cannot safely be put on a heater without risking damaging the sample inside the tube. Therefore, it is crucial that this passive system does not use heaters or fans to heat up the scanner.

Zaith’s 2D barcoded tube rack scanners with proprietary cryoprotection coating are available from the simplest single-tube readers to rack scanners for higher throughput sample management applications.

The company has extensive hands-on experience of managing thermally sensitive samples. This means the 2D barcoded tube scanners are engineered from a position of familiarity. The company has worked to produce a range of solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into any workflow with immediate added value.

About Ziath LtdZiath Logo

Ziath specializes in instrumentation control and information management in both the academic and the pharmaceutical/biotech industry sectors with a focus on the application of laboratory automation. In particular, we focus on managing large sample libraries (compound management, biobanking and sample management) using 2D datamatrix tubes.

Founded in 2005 by scientists and engineers; Ziath is over a decade old and is proud to server customers across the world. Ziath develops innovative new products designed to simplify processes in life science organizations. In addition Ziath offers consulting and contracting work to clients.

Ziath has a range of products split into four main categories of 2D barcode scanners, devices for handling tubes, 2D barcoded tubes and sample management software.

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Last updated: Sep 14, 2021 at 5:35 AM


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