The deepwell storage plates in our lives

Storage plates, often named deepwell plates, are the 'Go-To' solution for storing, transporting, and handling compounds and samples. Storage plates are usually produced in a range of Polypropylenes – offering good chemical resistance.

The deepwell storage plates in our lives

Image Credit: Irish Life Sciences

However, where 'Non-virgin' polymer or lower grade material has been used, extractible elements may be leached from the storage plate wall. This leaching can introduce background noise to the analysis.

The main advantage of storage plates over tubes is the ability to store a large number of samples in a small area; this footprint has been defined by the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

By complying with these definitions, users can be confident that the storage plate is suitable for use with robotic handling, plate handling and reading devices.

Storage plate formats are spilt into two distinct families:

  1. Square Well storage plates, which have a larger well volume
  2. Round Well storage plates that are rounded in shape, which aids mixing of the content.

Generally, Square Well Storage plate bases are 'V' shaped, which helps maximize sample extraction. Alternatively, Round Well Storage plates have a 'U' shaped base that aids mixing. Irish Life Sciences can offer both well shapes, as well as square well storage plates with 'U' shaped bases.

Storage plate height is usually determined by the well volume-shape relationship. Shallower well storage plates with a well volume of 360 µl or 400 µl typically have a height of just under 15.0 mm. Deepwell storage plates, however, can be as tall as 44.0 mm, holding 2.0 ml in Square Well format or 1.0 ml in Round Well format.

An exception to this is low-profile storage plates. These plates are in the 1.0 ml - 1.6 ml range and have a height of 24.0 - 33.0 mm. Some manufacturers, including Irish Life Sciences, manufacture a 2.0 ml round well storage plate with a height of 44.0 mm – this is known as a common wall storage plate.

The deepwell storage plates in our lives

Image Credit: Irish Life Sciences

The number of wells in a storage plate is the final factor affecting well height and volume.

The most commonly used storage plates have 96 wells, with the round or square well format. However, the range of plates available includes 24, 48, and 384 wells, or, for high throughput screening, 1536 wells.

In their range, Irish Life Sciences have 4.6 ml, 48 well and 10.0 ml, 24 well storage plates available.

Round Well storage plates can have a raised rim, facilitating strong heat-sealing performance and reducing cross-contamination. Alternatively, rimless round well storage plates are available. These are utilized when the storage plate is required to hold a glass vile or when sealing is not as important.

To assist sample processing, all storage plates have an alphanumeric grid reference along the top and side. Storage plate opacity is affected by the molder's choice of polypropylene and is not an indicator of material impurity.

At Irish Life Sciences, medical-grade polypropylene is used to ensure high performance and consistency.

A critical but often overlooked feature of deepwell storage plates is the elimination of trapped molding gases in the wells; removing these gases decreases the risk of leaks.

Additionally, the plate is flat to guarantee minimum evaporation and the best sealing performance. Storage plates should also be stackable, ensuring their compatibility with robotic applications.

High-quality storage plates are molded in clean rooms using polypropylene with minimum extractable elements. These storage plates are assessed on LCMS/GCMS equipment, certifying whether they are appropriate for use on mass spectrometers.

To pass the certification, these storage plates must not produce additional peaks in the chromatogram that are unrelated to the expected analytes.

The team at Irish Life Sciences are proud of their medical device-certified cleanrooms, as it is there that they mold their storage plates, thus guaranteeing they are completely free of DNase/RNase.

They utilize the latest technology in their mold design, ensuring they provide competitive and consistent storage plates, molded-in medical-grade polymers, and tested on Time of Flight Mass Spectrometers.

About Irish Life Sciences

Our goal at ILS is to build relationships through openness, quality, high service standards and flexibility that make us the natural choice as your supplier of Scientific Consumables.


Our relationship with customers is based on actively listening and collaborating to satisfy their requirements. Our team is committed to proactively identifying solutions that meet your current and future needs.


Our team comprises of the finest, highly motivated people, dedicated to supporting our customers, each other and continually improving our products and service.


Accepting the status quo is contrary to our core beliefs. We look to each other to constantly achieve the highest levels of safety, quality, and service. Our team are empowered to contribute ideas and to own our processes, delivering with passion the excellence of service expected of us all.


Whether working with colleagues or external partners, we will act with the highest level of integrity and assume the same of others. Our team will treat each other and our partners with dignity. We are a trusted partner.

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Last updated: Nov 18, 2021 at 4:29 AM


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