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Dispensing Nanoliter Liquid Volumes with a Real-time Flow Sensor

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Authored by: Marc Boillat, Seyonic SA, Rue du Puits Godet 12, CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland, www.seyonic.com

Accurate contactless dispensing of nanoliter quantities of liquid can be achieved with a miniature flow sensor that performs real-time measurement and control of aspirated and dispensed volumes. Seyonic has developed this technology and applied it in our family of pipetting systems.

Aspiration and dispense of the liquid sample are driven by vacuum or positive pressure. In order to allow high performance at low volumes down to 25 nL, the dispenser uses a system liquid that acts as hydraulic medium to transmit pressure as the solenoid valve opens. The system liquid allows large liquid acceleration, necessary to reach a jetting speed at the nozzle within miliseconds, ensuring clean jet start and breakoff at the valve closure.

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As the valves opens, the inline MEMS Flow sensor measures the instantaneous flow rate, which is integrated in real time by the electronic controller. When the volume set point is reached, the electronic controller closes the valve, ensuring a high precision, independent of the sample liquid properties.

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In addition to real-time measurement, reporting and validation of aspirated and dispensed volumes are also possible with this technology.


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