Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

TopSpot micro machined print

Micro arrays are biochips that contain a collection of miniaturised test sites on a solid substrate. TopSpot is an innovative non-contact printing technology for a high throughput production of low and medium density microarrays.
TopSpot micro machined print
Micro arrays consist of many small spots, typically 200μm in diameter. Each spot acts as a reservoir of a reagent sensitive towards one particular bio molecule. In this way, the composition of an unknown mixture can be deduced by analyzing the potential reactions performed between the substances of the mixture and the reagent of each spot.

The speed of the method employed for the different reagents dispensing simultaneously in a fixed array is crucial for achieving a high throughput of production micro arrays. A German research institute introduced TopSpot technology for the highly parallel and simultaneous delivery of a multitude of reagents in the picolitre range.

TopSpot - technology is based on a silicon micro machined print head consisting of reservoirs. Each reservoir is connected to one nozzle through a capillary channel. Different liquids can be loaded into the reservoirs, which are then transported automatically through capillary forces to the nozzles. When the print head is set in the so-called print module, a piston is positioned above the filled nozzles, defining an air chamber. The movement of the piston causes air-compression in the air chamber forcing droplets to be ejected.

TopSpot technology has given rise to a TopSpot product family consisting of three machines of different sizes, designed in such away that it is possible to pass seamlessly from the smaller to the larger one. In addition, all 3 permit the loading of twenty-four (24) or ninety-six (96) liquids into the reservoirs of the print head. The reservoirs pitch depends on the number of the available channels, standard 384 or 1536 micro-titre plate format. Easy handling, manual operation, compatibility to standard pipetting robots and integrated print head cooling to minimise probe evaporations, are only a few of the features of this technology.

However, the main advantage lies on the cost-effectiveness of this method for an up to now unmatched throughput in the mass production of micro arrays. This is mainly due to the parallel and non-contact functioning principle as well as the reduction of required sample or reagent volumes. Industrial partners are now invited to test and further adapt this device.
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