Precision down to the last detail

Achieving something new requires having deep insight. So if you are looking to develop new treatment approaches, you first need to have precise diagnoses. And experts are working on this using a number of methods. With specialty glass, they can reach higher degrees of accuracy in many diagnostic areas.

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Challenge

The goal of today’s diagnostics is to achieve fast and precise results while keeping the process cost-efficient. The key is having a high-quality basic material as well as a partner who can support a wide range of applications.

The goal of today’s diagnostics is to achieve results which are more exact and faster while keeping them cost efficient. The key is having a high-quality source material as well as a partner which is fully committed to its role in the widest conceivable range of applications.

Innovation

Specialty glass for biotech and life sciences is a standout material packed with versatility: glass wafers can be up to 30 micrometers (μm) thin, yet are still very pliant. The latest production technology provides accurate edges and structures. Thanks to a high transparency and a low autofluorescence, substrate materials such as BOROFLOAT 33® and the new D 263® bio are taking diagnostic applications a major step forward.

Flexible light guides made up of high purity PURAVIS® optical glass fibers as well as innovative light sources ensure that objects are precisely illuminated.

Moving biomolecules to bind

Razor-thin coatings are evenly applied under cleanroom conditions, transforming the glass wafers into substrates for microarrays. Thanks to the coatings, DNA, proteins or cells have the unique ability to adhere to the SCHOTT NEXTERION® substrates. Their task is to bind certain biomolecules from the sample – blood or other fluids for example – on exact, designated spots. To achieve strong results for analysis, it is critical that the biomolecules wanted both specifically and uniformly adhere to the substrate. Thus, only an exact and homogeneous coating can ensure precise and, more importantly, reproducible results.

10,000microscopically small spots are placed on a microarray.

How antibody microarrays work

1

Tiny spots – which are just a few micrometers in diameter – of known antibodies are placed on the coated slide.

2

Proteins e.g. from cancer cells or serum and urine samples are labeled with fluorescent dye.

3

The labeled proteins are placed on the antibody microarray; fitting molecules bind to each other.

4

The antibody microarray is scanned.

5

The binding events are visual­ized on a display screen as varicolored points. From the patterns formed, the protein markers for diseases can be ascertained.

On the right wavelength

When it comes to clinical diagnoses, light is another key to prediction accuracy and to making progress in analytical quality. Depending on how the light waves change or are reflected or absorbed as they flow through the sample, conclusions about its composition can be drawn.

When it comes to clinical diagnoses, light is another key to prediction accuracy and to making progress in analytical quality. Depending on how the light waves change or are reflected or absorbed as they flow through the sample, conclusions about its composition can be drawn.

For an accurate result, the samples must be fixed inside the analytical device with light running alongside the samples. The solution: a multi-branch device with several light guides, which is fed from a LED light source and can move quickly back and forth. The light guides are very resistant against rapid movement. In addition to PURAVIS®, other types such as quartz or polymer fibers can be utilized for specific wavelengths light guides.

Light is not always simply light

What really makes the difference is a light source with long-term stability – one that delivers the same light in the required wavelength. Many analytical instruments are practically in use 24 hours a day. The latest LED lighting systems remain stable even after 30,000 hours in operation. Nevertheless, one problem remains. Based on their age and other operating factors, the light intensity of LEDs changes over time. SCHOTT is the only supplier worldwide offering a sensor technology that can monitor the wavelength, and, if needed, can make readjustments.

Consistent
wavelengths
No
change in color
Low
maintenance costs
test

Next

Flowing into the future

In tomorrow‘s world, SCHOTT glass wafers will come with increasingly complex 3D structures and turn into microfluidic flow cells, for example. This innovation allows for many individual biomolecules to be analyzed down to the last detail in a very short timeframe. These micro-labs, or lab-on-a-chip, will pave the way for new breakthroughs in diagnostics.

Let’s break new ground for diagnostics.

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Contact

Martina Grimm
Marekting & Communication
SCHOTT AG

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