Hybrid Technology

At one time, scientists had to make an important decision when purchasing a multidetection microplate reader: Do I need filter-based or monochromator-based optical system? With the Agilent BioTek patented Hybrid Technology, there is no need to choose since both systems are available within the same compact product. Each type of optics offers advantages and limitations, but in combination, the benefits are clear for users requiring the most flexibility and highest performance.

Monochromator-based optics

The monochromator-based optical system in the Agilent BioTek Hybrid multimode readers uses a quadruple grating design similar to those found in high-end analytical instruments. Monochromators in fluorescence provide the same ease of use as monochromators in absorbance. The wavelength selection is done through Gen5 software, without having to think about filter availability. It is like having a drawer full of fluorescence filters available to use without the associated cost. Monochromators can also be used for wavelength scanning for obtaining both excitation and emission peaks.

In a typical colorimetric assay, an enzyme/substrate reaction causes a color change in the samples in the microplate.

Figure 1. Monochromator-based optics in the Agilent BioTek Hybrid system.

Filter-based optics

The filter-based optical system in Agilent BioTek Hybrid readers uses deep blocking bandpass filters on the excitation and emission sides, plus dichroic mirrors. This design provides strong sample excitation as well as efficient stray-light rejection, for high signal-to-noise ratios.

Filter-based optics in BioTek’s Hybrid system.

Figure 2. Filter-based optics in the Agilent BioTek Hybrid system.

Filter-based optics have other advantages and are more cost effective than monochromator systems. These optics have very efficient light transmission, wavelength switching is typically faster, and filters can be tailored to specific fluorescent dyes.


Hybrid Technology Benefits:

  • Convenient, flexible wavelength selection
  • Spectral scanning capability
  • Excellent sensitivity in all modes including fluorescence polarization and time-resolved fluorescence
  • Fast wavelength switching
  • Ease of use through Gen5 software

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