Easy Tips To Solve Microarray Printing Trouble

The field of medicine particularly has been boasting the advent of microarrays for a while now. Though they are intricate machines, made with utmost concentration and special attention given to details, they can still break down or have issues.

In order to know how resolve such issues, it is important to know what makes up a microarray. Here are the main components of a microarray:

  • Micro spotting pins
  • Printing environment
  • Motion Control System or MCS
  • Sample Preparation
  • Substrate Surface

If even one of the above is not present or damaged, it will have a negative impact on the quality of a manufactured microarray. However, if such an occurrence is observed, here is how it can be resolved:


Step 1

Check the spotting pins for any damage. This could include choked pins, broken pins or even dirt clogged pins. These pins can easily clog if they are not cleaned properly or at all. Moreover, dirty samples can also cause clogging. If you notice broken pins or any other physical damage, that unfortunately cannot be fixed and they will have to be replaced altogether because of their micro nature. In other instances, it is advised that the pins be sonicated for 5 minutes using purified water. This will rid the pin of any dirt particles. It is then blow dried. Once the pin has dried, a protective layer is added before it can be used again.

Make sure the pin is completely dry before use or it may cause trouble loading new samples. This could eventually lead to sample shortage.

Step 2

Sample preparation can be a major cause of printing issues. Although there are a number of ways recommended to clean the pins, there is always a chance that these techniques leave residue, causing clogged pins and ultimately affecting the printing process and the quality. A purification kit, PCR is a good place to start cleaning the he pin.

Step 3

One of the outstanding qualities of a good microarray is the homogeneity of DNA in each individual array. It is primarily the substrate that is homogenous that ensures the DNA is divided into equal quantities. In case there is inequality, it points to the fact that there is a difference in the quantity of reactive groups. This will lead to disproportional amounts of DNA connecting to the substrate surface. Moreover, the surface must be even and flat for quality printing. A standard microscope slide is dissimilar while a glass slide is asymmetrical in addition to a difference in their thickness and texture. A difference in thickness alters the amount of time the pin takes accordingly. To create more samples, it needs to stay on the surface for longer. Thus, a uniform printing surface is essential for accuracy.

Step 4

Microarrays work properly only in controlled environments. The ideal humidity range must be between 55% and 60%. Moreover, a repeatability of 10 microns or less is not suggested.

Through the above, one can control damage and get on with some quality prints.

Loren Claude is an aspiring microbiologist. She recommends this website for microarray services because of their excellent work ethic.