Microarray Spotter
Components and Features

Microarray Spotter
Components and Features

Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us here at M2-Automation, and we know that every customer and project requires something different. That’s why we create advanced instruments and systems that can be tailored to individual needs. As you read through our Components content, you’ll see that there are many options available to your microdispenser system.

Perhaps you only need a few components to complete an existing set-up, in which case, we’re sure that we can help you to find exactly what you need in our comprehensive product portfolio. Alternatively, you may require an entirely new set-up, which is something that we will gladly discuss with you and help you to create.

We look forward to hearing from you.

non-contact microdispenser components, picoliter and nanoliter dispenser components, picoliter microarray dispenser components, microarray printing components

Components and Features

Air Filter

Cleaner air? Yes, please!

We think it is safe to say that we have all struggled to avoid contamination in our labs and within our experiments and processes… Well, we need struggle no longer because a hero is in our midst — the Clean Air Filtration System.

With its presence on the front line of our defense in the battle against unruly particles like dust, we can feel safe in the knowledge that particle contamination will be a thing of the past. Clean air and optimal testing and production conditions will prevail!

The HEPA flow-through air filtration system eliminates particles in air, e.g. dust. This is excellent news, because unwelcome particles in the air within a closed testing environment can be a critical contamination source in non-contact liquid handling, e.g. during the production of biochips.

A large HEPA filter is used as the last filter element, and the HEPA is usually combined with an enclosed M2 automation solution.

  • air filter, HEPA
    • clean air filter system

    Climate Controller

    It’s all in the handling

    If you need a tight control loop between the temperature, humidity, cooling and dew point of system components, this first-class climate control software module from M2-Automation is the best option.

    It is designed it to help you to control the variables by taking care of set points on your behalf. Additionally, it saves time stamped climate data in an Excel-readable format, making results easy to access, without the need for additional special software.

    It gives you the control that you need, therefore, improving your process by allowing you to bypass potential problematic environmental reactions that could affect your data results. For example, the unique humidity overshot control guarantees a very constant level of humidity, which combats the formation of relatively large microdroplets that are usually generated by nebulizer operating systems.

    The ultra-small proprietary M2 humidity and temperature sensor reads the current conditions and is source for a perfect control.

    See also Humidifier

  • humidity and temperature sensor
    • climate control


    The key is communication

    An electronic interface that detects electrical either TTL or short cut input signals (which signal is set by a jumper) send from an instrument or device.

    Detection of the corresponding input signal generates a 24 V output signal that can be used to trigger action of a second or more instruments or devices. In short, the coupler is an electrical low level communication interface supported by many laboratory instruments (e.g., HPLC systems).

    The coupler can be used for many different tasks, wherever it is required to trigger an action (microdroplet ejection or microarray print start) by a simple shortcut or TTL signal sent by an external master device.

    • interface that detects electrical either TTL or short cut input signals send from an instrument or device


    Make it cooler ...

    M2-Automation’s Cryostat is what you need to keep things cool in the lab. It is designed for the cooling of source vials, MTPS and target substrates such as chips, slides and sample supports.

    It comes complete with options for adjustable and regulated temperature, and with an integrated supply pump.

    Additionally, you have the benefit of being able to choose the cooling version or the cooling and heating version, and cooling liquid is provided by M2 as part of the package.

    The cooled liquid is pumped through cooling units that are mounted on the work platform of the instrument.

    A popular accessory combination for the cryostat includes our CCSM (Climate Control Software Module, a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor. This trio of components enables the Cryostat to control the dew point for source cavities.

    See also Climate Controller
    See also Humidifier

    • cooling or heating cryostat


    Bubbles belong in Champagne, not labs

    In non-contact liquid handling, small air bubbles generated by spontaneous degassing of dissolved gases in liquids can cause all kinds of negative effects, e.g. distortions of the liquid flight path, random volume errors or, at worst, complete loss of function.

    However, online degassing prevents such problems, which is one of the reasons that M2’s Online Degasser is such a popular optional component in all of our non-contact liquid handling solutions. Aside from being totally effective in degassing, it’s also easy to use and built to last.

    Online degassers are used for online removal of dissolved gases (usually, air) from liquids.

    If an air bubble were to migrate into the chamber of a piezo driven microdispenser, it could cause complete loss of function, but with our Online Degasser, this can be avoided if the system liquid is degassed online right after it has left the storage bottle or vial.

    • degassing of dissolved gases in liquids

    Dispense Controller

    Action stations!

    The Micro Dispense Controller (MDC) is a controller that is compatible for use with all microdispensers offered by M2-Automation, and the package also includes all necessary electronic and pneumatic components.

    If you would like to increase the efficiency and accuracy of your project, it makes sense to use hardware that you can rely on to perform flawlessly. That’s why you need M2-Automation’s MDC; it’s the perfect fit for your microarray spotter hardware needs.

    The MDC is used to control M2-Austomation’s non-contact liquid handling solutions across all of our product lines. It provides accurate regulation and adjustment of pressure supply, precise generation and amplification of signals, and it includes electrical input and output ports for the use of external hardware. The current microdispense controller version includes also the control PC - a very space saving feature.

    • micro dispense controller


    Some like it hot

    At M2-Automation, we offer a number of heating devices to service the needs of your project, and in order to enhance their value and accuracy, we have designed a temperature controller. It is an electronic controller for heating devices offered by M2 that contain one or more temperature sensors, and one or more heating elements.

    The M2 Temperature Controller heats up target substrate holders such as slides, TXRF sample discs and micro-dispensers. It reads the current temperature and turns the heating element on or off accordingly, allowing the set target temperature to be reached and maintained, with a maximum deviation of less than 0.5°C. The employed regulation algorithm has been optimized for this task and can be calibrated for each heatable device.

    • M2 Temperature controller with high accuracy
    • M2-Automation micro heater. Heat- and sensor-element equipped target tray.


    Every microarrayer needs a home

    The Safety Housing for the microarray spotter product line. This safe environmental enclosure accommodates the robot X,Y,Z-stage system, and is able to house all of the additional components that are available with the microarrayer instrument, as well as a microdispense controller.

    The enclosure provides the safe environment needed to achieve uncontaminated, reliable results. The design reflects the many years of experience and understanding of necessary environmental conditions for accurate testing, which M2-Automation has perfected over the last decade of its automation solution development history.

  • housing with microarray spotter
  • robust housing with microarray spotter on rolls
    • iTWO - instrumentTWO standard housing


    If your air is thirsty

    When automated active regulation of the relative humidity in a small room or cabinet is essential, M2-Automation’s humidifiers with superior proprietary humidity sensors will provide exactly what you need.

    We offer two types of humidifiers, which gives you the option of choosing which would best suit your needs, and enables us to provide you with a more tailored solution. The first option is an ultrasonic nebulization humidifier, and the second is an evaporation humidifier.

    The active regulation of relative humidity offered by a humidifier can be imperative during an experiment or process. Some examples of processes that require relative humidity regulation are: the handling of cell cultures and suspensions, the generation of microarrays, and the minimization of water evaporation during long spotting experiments.

    A must have is our ultra-small and very accurate proprietary M2 humidity and temperature sensor. The sensor reads permanent the conditions and is source for an excellent control.

    Do you have any questions about which humidifier would be of greatest value to your project? If so, we would be delighted to assist you with answers and advice, so please get in touch. We’re here to help.

    See also Climate Controller

  • humidity sensor with humidifier
    • humidity and temperature

    Imaging System 2D

    When a microdroplet is a celebrity

    The Imaging Basic from M2-Automation is a 2D imaging hardware tool for non-contact liquid handling within the picolitre (pL) and nanolitre (nL) volume ranges. Although the system is a more basic version of our advanced imaging system, it is still a first-class piece of hardware.

    The supporting imaging software provides automatic quality control of the microdroplet ejection process during a spotting run. This process is typically performed after each sample aspiration step.

    The 2D Droplet Detection software module is designed to monitor and analyse droplet formation before and after spotting. This is an invaluable function when it’s necessary to establish optimal dispensing parameters for each and every sample on a fully automated run.

    Specific actions can be triggered if there is a failure of function, e.g. when no droplet is detected, when there is a deviation in the determined droplet volume and/or flight velocity, or when the flight path falls outside acceptance limits specified by the user.

    See also 3D Imaging

    • 2D imaging system

    Imaging System 3D

    When two imaging dimensions are not enough

    The 3D Droplet Detection soft module from M2 is the big brother of the 2D Imaging System. Its purpose and functions mirror those of the 2D but with one significant difference, which is an additional droplet camera that enables 3D data gathering.

    3D improves real time droplet flight path detection by offering a forecast of the droplet hit point coordinates. This forecast can be applied for an XY coordinate correction of the target substrate and, therefore, results in accurate sample deposition and perfect feature alignment. With this software module, bad feature alignment and crooked microarrays will become a thing of the past.

    3DDD (3DimensionalDropletDetection) is a software module for the microarray instrument control software that enables automatic 3D optical detection of droplet ejection. Also, it enables analysis of droplet volume, velocity and flight path in X and Y directions during a spotting run.

    • 3D imaging system with 2 cameras


    Get your charges arranged

    M2’s Ionizer is a device for the removal of electrostatic charges. Such charges can generate strong local electrical fields while residing on non-conductive surfaces such as MTPs, plastic slides and Lab on a Chip devices.

    With plastic substrates and MTPs in particular, electrostatic charges can completely ruin the dispensing (spotting) results, but you can rely on M2’s Ionizer to prevent this by neutralizing the charges, allowing your dispensing process to run smoothly and accurately.

    Also, in many non-contact liquid handling applications, the ejected droplets can become electrostatically charged. If they are very small, as is the case with Piezo dispensers, this means that the local charges can significantly change the flight path of the droplets, with the consequence that they are no longer able to reach their target position. But, once again, the Ionizer prevents this problem, ensuring an unhindered flight path for the droplets.

    Note: The ions produced are harmless for humans. Healthy air contains many ionized air molecules.

    • ionizer

    Liquid Path

    Make your life easier without bubbles

    Is air bubble formation causing problems in your dispensing process? If so, the Liquid Path Air-free is your solution. Developed by M2 to make your life easier, it’s an effective means of avoiding problems caused by spontaneous degassing of dissolved air.

    Therefore, it improves the overall process and reliability of low volume non-contact liquid handling in the picoliter- and nanoliter-volume range.

    Liquid Path Air-free option includes all tubing, ferrules and special fittings for upgrading your microarray printer with this excellent feature.

    • Liquid Path


    Access to your precious liquid sample

    Sealing the wells of an MTP is an efficient means to prevent solvent loss by evaporation or sublimation during storage, but when a well needs to be opened efficiently and safely, without other wells being affected, a piercer is needed.

    The Piercer from M2-Automation is a tool for just that purpose. It can automatically pierce the sealing foil of individual wells, allowing access to their contents while all unpierced wells remain sealed.

    The piercing of the MTPs is performed by a conically shaped stainless steel tip positioned above the well, and then moved downward until it has penetrated the sealing foil, just before sample uptake.

    A piercer enables on-demand access to any sealed well, which can be very useful when, for example, aspirating only part of the content for a planned dispensing program.

    Note: The Piercer package includes a head-mounted piercing tool and a motor driven axis that moves it up and down via motor controller.

    • piercing from sealed wells of an MTP

    Piezo Microdispenser

    Picolitre and more

    A piezo driven microdispenser developed by M2-Automation that is able to deliver single droplet ejection volumes from 20 picoliter up to a couple of hundred picoliter reliably with high precision and a high repetition rate.

    The functional dispensing principle of our microdroplet generator is ultrafast (microseconds) liquid displacement caused by a short contraction of a cylindrical piezo actuator bonded to a thin glass capillary.

    It enables accurate non-contact picoliter-volume applications and thereby efficient miniaturization. More than hundred samples, for instance, can be accommodated as individual spots or in individual nano-wells over an area of only 1mm2. Less than 50picoliter of each sample solution are transferred in that case and 1microliter is sufficient for doing this 20.000 times. This approach enables efficient use of expensive reagents.

    A prominent example is the production of high-quality DNA microarrays, peptide and protein-microarrays for diagnostic multiparameter tests. Others concern the implementation of chemical and biochemical components in Lab on a Chip devices, cell (tissue) printing as well as the generation of homogeneous thin sample layers.


  • piezo driven micro dispenser with head cam in wash station
    • non-contact picoliter piezo dispenser tip and glass slides on vacuum tray

    Pneumatic Unit

    Pressure all the way

    Here at M2, we have designed and built two excellent pneumatic units. The positive pressure version is the first of those, and it’s a product that will improve the levels of precision and flexibility within your processes.

    This adjustable and regulated positive pressure supply unit can provide a positive pressure of up to 1000 mbar, which can be regulated down to +/- 1mbar (adjustable hysteresis). The pressure is adjustable from 10-1000mbar and, for your convenience, the pressure level is displayed on the front side of the device, while the pneumatic and electronic connections are located on the rear side.

    The important features that both this model and the negative pressure version share are that they both include a pump, a pressure pilot valve, a pressure sensor and electronic components for precise pressure regulation.

    Using the pressure unit, you can manage the generation and precise regulation of a positive pressure difference in a chamber, bottle or vial. A typical application of this device would be the provision of a constant driving force for liquid transportation in non-contact liquid handling. A must have for the nanoliter microdispenser product range.

    • pneumatic unit for vacuum or pressure

    Power Socket

    Power wherever you like

    You got the power! Well, you will have it when you invest in M2’s power distributer. Experiments can be tricky, and often require quite a bit of equipment, which is why we designed the power distributer to streamline your power supply set-up and to save on space.

    It has one switchable 24 V DC input and four switchable 24 V DC output ports, which are all located at the rear side. The status of each port (on or off) is indicated by a blue LED on the front side.

    The power socket unit is most useful when between two and four additional devices require 24 V DC power supply. Therefore, instead of supplying each device with a separate power supply, the power of one 24 V DC supply can be distributed between four devices. Simple.

    • 24 V DC power distributor

    Pump Unit

    Pump It!

    A dual channel pump unit. It includes two membrane pumps, a smaller and a larger one. The flow rate of both pumps is adjustable by internal potentiometers. The liquid and electronic connection ports are located on the rear side. The activity of the pump is indicated by a blue status LED on the front side.

    The pump unit is able to transport two liquids at the same time, e.g. for the supply and the waste line of a wash station.

    • dual channel pump unit


    You are special to us

    We offer a two days hardware and software training course (from 9 AM to 16 PM) for up to 3 users after instrument installation at our customer’s premises.

    The training helps to get familiar with the hardware and software.

    It provides a good start for new customers that have no or not much experience with the installed instrumentation. This training is adapted to your specific application.

    Next to a physical support, we also provide a telephone support for our customers for their instrument performance and application. Advanced training: On top of the first training, we offer an extra two days training course, which usually takes place after the customer has gathered some experience with the new instrumentation. The goal here is a deeper understanding of the spotting technology and their application. This training can be ordered separately.

    • service with hardware and software training


    The beating heart of hardware

    The instrument software is a result of more than one decade experience in microdispensing and arraying; guiding the user easily through all features such as target layouts, array formatting and all necessary liquid handling.

    • Main window reflects the current instrument status and run configuration
    • Substrate Designer assists with designing dispensing patterns via simple, even 3D Lab on a Chip structures are easy to set-up
    • Wash Designer offers effortless drag and drop programming of the dispenser rinsing procedure
    • Individual dispensing parameters for diverse samples, all in a single run

    Optional software modules like collision prevention to maneuver around obstacles, substrate imaging to find fiducials on your substrate automatically and many more are available.

    • iX software by m2-automation

    Solenoid Microdispenser

    Nanolitre and more ...

    This is a product that will save you time and sample volume — two very valuable commodities. The nanoliter microdispenser developed by M2-Automation delivers nanoliter microdroplets as well as liquid jets on demand from single digits nanoliter droplets up to liquid jets in the microliter range and even more.

    The nanoliter microdispenser dispenses liquid out of a thin stainless steel, capillary or disposable tip.

    Some application examples are:

    • Microliter plate filling
    • Addition of reagents into small wells
    • The transfer of small aliquots of sample solutions onto various substrates, wafers, discs, lab-on-a-chip devices, MALDI sample plates, etc.
    • Nanoliter microarrays
    • Diagnostic membrane spotting
    • Lab on a Chip port/reservoir filling


    • non-contact nanoliter microdispenser tip and single spot on glass slide


    The beginning

    M2-Automation provides a wide range of source adapters. Mirowell plates, reagent troughs of any format and custom tailored shapes are supported by our instrument series. Also, holder with flow through cooling option for small vials, tubes and multi-well strips that fits into the source vial positions of the M2 microarraying spotter range. For cooling the holder must be connected with a cryostat.

    • microarray dna spotter

    Syringe Pump

    We bet you‘ll like that kind

    The Syringe Pump from M2-Automation is a multifunctional tool that is built to guarantee accurate and thorough performance, whilst maintaining simplicity of process. It is linear, motor driven and chemically inert, with a 3-channel ceramic valve and an integrated bypass function. The inlet and outlet ports are directly connected and the default syringe volume is 100microliter, with a resolution of 0.1microliter.

    The main functions of the M2 Syringe Pump is: the aspiration and dispensing of sample liquids or cleaning and coating reagents; the washing of the dispenser tip; and the resuspension of sample sediments, living cells and other particles.

    Another extremely useful feature of this product is that the valve position of the syringe pump can be used to block the flow path to the system liquid bottle, e.g. when no microdispenser is installed due to exchange or maintenance, or when a piezo driven microdispenser is treated with coating solution and no liquid is flowing into the dispenser. To utilize this feature, one must simply connect the syringe to the outlet port of the valve.

    • M2 100 microliter syringe pump


    Goal accomplished

    M2 standard target holder has the footprint of an MTP following the ANSI standard. Glass slides are easy to insert and are gently hold in a defined position by a spring loaded lever. Repeatable placing accuracy guaranteed.

    The holder tolerates little deviations in the dimensions of the slides and accepts both formats: 75x25 mm and 3x1 inch. For regulated heating, the M2 heat controller can be connected to an adapter (holder) with integrated temperature sensor and heating element that accommodates up to four glass or plastic slides.

    Also, vacuum target plates with custom dimensions including optional cooling and heating functionality are supported by M2's spotter robot series. Just ask the M2 team for your matching target tray.

    • Biochip with DNA microarray pattern. Chip manufacturer CHIPRON GmbH.

    Wash Station

    Cleanliness is next to godliness

    Wash procedures are a standard part of every experiment and are implemented between the dispensing of every sample. Throughout such a procedure, flexibility is key, and that is a feature we guarantee with the wash station and its components.

    One example of this flexibility is the user-defined procedures that allow you to create sample-specific wash procedures to ensure that cross-contamination is never a problem. Another example is the multiple options for wash solutions that allow you to tailor the wash to your specific project needs.

    You can be sure that your experiments are always efficient and contamination free when you use M2’s wash station. It is yet another product that we have designed with the ease and efficiency of your experimentations in mind.

    The wash station comprises all hardware components necessary for the implementation and operation of a wash station. A pump unit is not included due to the fact that we have a number of pump unit options, giving you the choice of how you would like to tailor this element of the overall solution to your specific needs. The station itself is mounted on the base plate of the instrument and includes a supply line for the washing liquid, a wasteline, all necessary tubing, containers and connectors. We’ve even created the Chemical Compatibility Manual, which is available upon request to help you choose the safest and most effective wash solution for your specific experiment.

    The wash station is built for the external washing of an installed microdispenser tip during an automated liquid handling program (wash run). In addition, the wash station provides the perfect environment for manual or automated strobe light supported inspection and tuning of the droplet generation (ejection) process.

  • wash station in diagnostic membrane array spotter
  • microarray spotting instrument with wash station
    • low volume nanoliter and picoliter microarry printer with washing station

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