The Continuous Flow Microspotter (CFM): Printing with Flow

The CFM uses flow to print microarray spots. In contrast with other printers that use fixed volume droplets with uncertainty in binding coverage, the CFM uses microchannels to cycle ligand solutions over a surface. This maintains sensitive proteins in a liquid environment and produces active spots with coverages that approach saturation. When compared to pin or non-contact printing the CFM enables ligand concentrations 1,000 fold more dilute than other technologies, as well as the printing of ligands directly from crude mixtures onto a selective capture surface.

The CFM uses a network of microchannels to print 48 samples at one time in a 4 x 12 block. Automated fluid handling and positioning systems enable printing of up to 384 unique samples in one run. The system is configured for printing onto standard 1″ x 3″ slides with customer holders for other chips or substrates.

The CFM has been used to print a wide variety of biomolecules including DNA, proteins, antibodies, lipids, sugars and cells in array formats that work well with both labeled and label free imaging instruments. When paired with a label-free imaging biosensor, the CFM enables the transfer of standard coupling and capture conditions of a lower throughput multi-channel system to the higher throughput array-based systems.

The Benefits of Printing with Flow

  • Print from dilute solutions by concentrating material onto the surface
  • CFM printing head seals around each spot, eliminating background and cross talk
  • Print directly from crude solutions, capturing only the molecule of interest
  • Print DNA, proteins, cells, carbohydrates, lipids, and more
  • Each sample is isolated in its own hydrated microenvironment, preventing denaturation
  • Higher assay sensitivity
  • Improved spot morphology and uniformity
  • Deliver multiple solutions across each spot in series