The QArray 2, originally manufactured by Genetix, is built to provide laboratories with high throughput arraying/spotting. This instrument gives labs the ability to screen hundreds of proteins for activity or array entire genomes. Arrays are primarily developed on 25 x 70 mm glass slides, but the instrument can be configured for the spotting of arrays on microplates of 96 or 384 wells. No changes need to be made to the instrument bed for microplates or slides, allowing both to be easily accommodated. This flexibility in array development enables the instrument to be used in a variety of applications. In addition to this versatility, the instrument is capable of high throughput and walk-away operation while ensuring precise and repeatable spotting.
A high capacity plate stacker provides the support to match high throughput experimental screening procedures. This plate stacker has a capacity of 90 glass slides or up to 70 source plates. With automated scripts from Genetix software, hours of operation without user input are possible, fully utilizing the storage capacity. Tracking of these completed arrays is executed by an automated barcode reader. Once read, barcodes are recorded and stored to allow for the tracking of arrays throughout the array development process.
The QArray 2 is capable of high precision spotting in a range of less than 3 percent variation between any identical arrays when spotted under standard conditions. In order to maintain these standard conditions, the instrument is equipped with a humidity controlled chamber. By controlling humidity, consistent spots are ensured from the dispensing heads. Should humidity be too low, dry conditions can prevent precise and consistent spotting due to liquid evaporating in the dispensing heads. Also helping to regulate chamber conditions is a High-Efficiency Particulate Absorption (HEPA) filtered system. All of this environmental control gives the instrument an ability to spot samples and reagents in 1 um increments (XYZ). Spotting is delivered by a High-Precision Low Friction (HPLF) printing head capable of supporting 48 pins. The spotting head has XYZ movement capabilities and, when used in conjunction with the high-resolution linear drive, ensures array spotting precise enough for all research applications.
With such versatile assay development abilities, this instrument has numerous applications for research laboratories. While most recommended for DNA and protein arrays, new techniques have paved the way for studying carbohydrates in such formats, with proteins used for binding purposes. Because of the high throughput capabilities of the instrument, it is possible to array entire genomes. The ability to print arrays in the wells of microplates also lends the instrument to applications that would otherwise be too troublesome on standard glass slides. This is true in clinical and diagnostic applications, where a high volume of samples needs to be read simultaneously. Given that in these cases only a few proteins will be tested against the samples, microplates offer an ease in handling not provided by standard slides.