Agilent Technologies received US Patent No. 6,740,871, “Scanning system with calibrated detection and method.” The patent covers a self-calibrating scanning system for analyzing biomolecules on a microarray. The system comprises an excitation light source — with a highly reproducible or calibrated light based on a pre-selected or reference light level — an optical portion, a detection portion, and a calibration portion that includes a calibration apparatus and a compensation portion. The calibration apparatus emits light that is measured. If the detection components are stable, they will measure a constant output value for the calibrated light over time. As a detection component changes with time, the output value will change for the same calibrated light. The method comprises the steps of initially calibrating the detection portion of the scanning system and subsequently calibrating the detection portion to compensate for sensitivity changes.
Scientific Products & Systems of Ellicott City, Md., received US Patent No. 6,739,478 “Precision fluid dispensing system.” The patent covers a precision fluid dispensing system containing at least one two-piece pump and a precision closed-loop controller drive system to address the small-volume precision dispensing requirements of bioscience applications. A multiple-diameter pump can be combined with a pump having multiple inlet and outlet ports to allow for precision multiple-outlet dispenses in a single pump that finds use with microtiter plate pipetting and other precision dispensing. Inlet ports can be located on the smaller diameter of the cylinder with outlet ports on the larger diameter of the cylinder. A micro-controller with closed loop feedback provides exact linear positioning and motion of the pump piston as well as optional control of a nozzle to provide exact micro-dispensing of fluids.
Sandia Corp. of Albuquerque, NM, received US Patent No. 6,741,349 “Optical microspectrometer.” The technology comprises a prism to disperse the spectra in a line object. A single optical microspectrometer can be used to sequentially scan a planar object, such as a dye-tagged microchip. Because the optical microspectrometer is very compact, multiple optical microspectrometers can be arrayed to provide simultaneous readout across the width of the planar object The optical microspectrometer can be fabricated with lithographic processes, such as deep X-ray lithography, with as few as two perpendicular exposures. A particular application of growing importance is for the spectrophotometric analysis of genomic and proteomic microarrays. The fluorescence from the dye-tagged microchip can then be scanned to provide a color-coded readout of the microarray to determine gene activity.
Affymetrix received US Patent No. 6,741,344, “Method and apparatus for detection of fluorescently labeled materials.” Fluorescently marked targets are detected by exposing selected regions of the substrate to light and detecting the photons from the light fluoresced therefrom, and repeating the steps of exposure and detection until the substrate is completely examined. The resulting data can be used to determine binding affinity of the targets to specific polymer sequences.