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Wednesday, 17 March 2021 09:47

Cryoprotection of 2D Barcoded Tube Scanners

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Efficient sample management centres on the ability to rapidly identify specific samples in your workflow with ease. Prior to the widespread implementation of two-dimensional (2D) datamatrix barcodes on sample tubes, it was difficult to quickly and effectively select specific sample tubes from potentially hundreds – if not thousands, or even millions – of others.


Modern 2D barcoded cryotubes and high-speed tube and rack scanners pioneer greater sample tracking and inventory management capabilities. Accurately selecting and decoding barcodes is now key to successful workflows, and this hinges on the performance qualities of your scanner. Loss of functionality can impact their ability to quickly scan and decode datamatrix barcodes on tubes, even temporary loss of functionality due to ice build-up on racks and/or condensation build-up on the rack scanner can prove detrimental.

Introducing Cryoprotection of Scanners

Tube racks held in freezers often accumulate ice—a natural side-effect of being stored at temperatures of -80°C. Alternatively, racks from vapour phase liquid nitrogen gather ice from the atmosphere when removed from the tank. All 2D barcoded tube rack scanners are camera-based which means they need a clear, unobstructed view of a tube’s datamatrix barcode to accurately decode. Ice build-up can be easily corrected by blotting the tubes with alcohol.

Read More: Ice, Ice Baby (How to remove ice build-up from the bottom of your racks)

However, the rack temperature is problematic as it causes condensation to form on the tube rack scanner glass. The best solution to issues associated with condensation caused by cold racks is cryoprotection. As the name suggests, cryoprotection is a method of preserving 2D barcoded tube/rack scanner functionality when the rack is at low temperatures.

Cryoprotection refers to a proprietary coating on the surface of scanner window that prevents the accumulation of condensation on the window of the scanner. This all but eliminates scanning errors associated with condensation and preserves an uninterrupted workflow, even when scanning tubes directly from the freezer.  However, it is important that this does not heat up the rack being scanned. 

Cryoprotection of Ziath 2D Barcoded Tube Scanners

At Ziath, we supply custom sample and information management solutions for small and large life science facilities alike, supporting all scales of research into biotechnology, drug discovery, and pharmaceuticals. We offer cryoprotection coatings on all our 2D barcoded tube/rack scanners as an option and have received excellent testimonials from customers that opted for the full cryoprotection option. Note it is important that this is a passive system that does not use heaters or fans to heat up the scanner; a cold rack cannot safely be put on a heater without risking damaging the sample inside the tube.

The 2D barcoded tube rack scanners which are available with our proprietary cryoprotection coating range from the simplest single-tube readers to rack scanners for higher throughput sample management applications. Our team has extensive hands-on experience of managing thermally sensitive samples, so our 2D barcoded tube scanners are engineered from a position of familiarity. We understand the pain points of sample management and have worked to produce a range of solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into your workflow with immediate added value.

Contact a member of the Ziath team today if you would like to learn more. 

Read 1813 times Last modified on Wednesday, 17 March 2021 09:57

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