Agilent Technologies of Palo Alto, Calif., has received US Patent No. 6,927,389, "Bi-directional scanner control system." The patent describes an optical scanner system where a control algorithm accounts for geometric variation of successive scans in opposite directions across a microarray slide or substrate in order to provide optimized focus. The feedback approach recommended may involve proportional-integral or proportional-integral-derivative algorithms, the patent states. In either type of control approach, a projected slope of the slide is calculated and followed back and forth outside a scan region of the array in exiting and entering fully adaptive focusing zones, respectively. During turn-around, the system may track a set point between the periods of following the extrapolated slope. The patent also describes methods of using the system in a biopolymer array-based application with genomic and proteomic applications.
Agilent Technologies has also received US Patent No. 6,929,951, "Method and system for molecular array scanner calibration." The patent provides a two-step molecular array calibration method for calibrating molecular arrays to a reference molecular array, and for subsequently calibrating the molecular arrays to maintain a constant signal-intensity-to-label-concentration ratio. The two-step calibration method uses a reference array coated with the fluorophore or chromophore to label probe molecules, followed by the use of a reference array coated with a stable dye.
Beckman Coulter of Fullerton, Calif. has received US Patent No. 6,929,944, "Analysis using a distributed sample." The patent describes a method of producing a sample microarray for use in detecting one or more target biopolymers and/or analytes in the sample. The sample microarray described is formed by distributing equivalent amounts of a single sample at discrete, spatially defined locations on a substrate, according to the patent's summary. The patent states that the method is capable of dispensing and assaying sample aliquots onto the microarray, which may contain picomole, femtomole, attomole, or zeptomole amounts of the target. The microarray is then interrogated by one or more probes specific for one or more of the target biopolymers and/or analytes.