Dynamic Fluid Analysis technology enables Echo Liquid Handlers to adapt easily to different types of fluids. This proprietary technology enables Echo Liquid Handlers to accurately and precisely transfer most reagents, even if the Echo Liquid Handler has never previously transferred that reagent. The result of the Dynamic Fluid Analysis process is that the operator does not have to stop their work and recalibrate, ever.
Fluid transfer methods are impacted by two key fluid properties: surface tension (the way fluid at an interface interacts with its surroundings) and viscosity (the resistance of fluid to move). Most liquid handlers are passive and require the operator to determine how to overcome surface tension and viscosity for their specific reagents, and puts the burden on the operator to calibrate the instrument to transfer that reagent. There are additional burdens created by this process:
Echo Liquid Handlers use sound energy to transfer reagents in drop increments on a 2.5 nL scale. All Echo Liquid Handlers incorporate a transducer, which converts electrical energy to sound energy to accomplish the drop transfer. The transfer process can be explained in two broad steps:
SURVEY: The Echo Liquid Handler determines the fluid height and fluid properties in the source wells. The transducer (acoustic energy generator) sends soft energy pings into each well and receives the reflections (or echoes) returned from three interfaces: the bottom of the source microplate, the bottom of the well, and the fluid meniscus.
TRANSFER: The transducer returns to the first transfer point and sends a larger energy burst to accomplish the transfer in discrete, consistent droplets.
Key to this process is that the transducer interfaces with one well at a time. This affords the capability to perfect transfer for each source well. General information on the fluid type provided by the operator (e.g., DMSO, buffer, reagent containing glycerol, etc.) narrows the transfer parameters. Dynamic Fluid Analysis uses a power-adjustment ramping process to slowly increase the energy from survey power level to transfer power levels. By listening to subsequent echoes, the Echo Liquid Handler can determine the appropriate power level required for transfer from each source well. This process is accomplished in milliseconds and does not require any operator intervention. There are numerous benefits to this process:
By removing the calibration requirement, less time is required to maintain and operate a liquid handler. The Echo Liquid Handler uses Dynamic Fluid Analysis capabilities to simplify experimental setup and enables a higher degree of experimental and workflow flexibility.