Thermal (IR) Plates

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These novel thermally insulating, infrared (IR), HTS format micro-titer plates were designed for monitoring thermal (IR radiation) signatures of proteins-ligand binding processes.  These plates can be used for direct and immediate monitoring of various exothermic (and endothermic) reactions.


Two types of plates: Plates with semi-spherical wells and plates with reflecting parabolic wells, have been developed and tested to serve as reaction chambers and sensitive monitors of thermal activity (IR emission). Both types of plates are molded from thermally insulating plastic (which minimizes external thermal noise) and coated with an IR reflecting layer of gold. (See photo)


Semi-spherical well plates:


An array of IR radiation integrating spheres is created when two semi-spherical well plates are sandwiched together. The bottom plate usually serves as a reaction chamber, while the top matching plate accommodates an array of sensors. These sensors provide an integrated signal proportional to the internally generated thermal IR emission. Various sensors can be embedded into the top plate wells either directly, or linked via special IR transmitting optic fibers. Utilization of fiber-optic links provide the flexibility to position sensors in a remote environment for enhanced performance. (i.e. liquid nitrogen - for reduced thermal noise and increased sensitivity). (See photo)


Parabolic well plates:


Parabolic well plates have the same IR monitoring characteristics of the semi-spherical plates except for one major advantage in sensitivity. Parabolic wells can direct and concentrate IR signals to a focal point of collection. In this arrangement plates are sandwiched together, such that the reaction and sensor of each set of opposing wells are located at their focal points, providing signal amplification with minimal noise gain.  Utilization of parabolic wells also has the added advantage of using a readily available flat IR sensitive CCD array for detection.


In a typical thermal signature screening assay, a collection of individual compounds under investigation and reference blanks are dispensed into wells using the appropriate dispensing device. The common "binding ligand" is then dispensed by the area "shower" dispenser to trigger the simultaneous initiation of the binding process. This bottom (reaction) plate is covered immediately by the top sensing plate, which will begin to monitor the thermal signatures of each reaction and enable the comparative (ratiometric) analysis of activity from all wells. The data can then be integrated into a profiling database.


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