Twenty years ago, molecular biologists were introduced to a breakthrough method for quantifying nucleic acid: our Thermo Scientific NanoDrop 1000, a microvolume UV-Vis spectrophotometer. While some labs continue to use the original NanoDrop 1000, advancements have been made to UV-Vis systems to make them as efficient as possible for your specific needs. Learning about their differentiators makes upgrading to new models a seemingly time-consuming and difficult task. Luckily, we’ve compiled seven key factors to simplify the process.
UV Vis instrument selection criteria
First, determine if and how the following technological specifications impact your research:
- Detection Limits: These limits influence how much you’ll need to dilute your sample, if at all, to conduct analysis. The wider the detection limits’ dynamic range, the less time you’ll spend measuring samples and the more time you’ll spend deriving results from data.
- Contaminant assessment and specificity: Ensure the instrument provides enough insight into the specific sample types you intend to use. Specifically, the spectrophotometer should be able to measure sample concentration and sample purity to ensure you’re working with quality starting material before downstream activities begin.
- Instrument flexibility: There can be any number of user scenarios in a lab – gloved hands, remote PC control, limited bench space, compliance requirements, etc. – and you’ll want to ensure your instrument system accommodates them.
- Data integrity and compliance needs: Ensuring the integrity of data is important to all labs but is a critical component for labs that need to comply with the US FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11 code and similar regulations.
Once you’ve found a UV-Vis solution that fits your specific research needs, examine the factors that impact the reliability, longevity, and ROI of your system:
- Serviceability and maintenance: Determine if the maintenance requirements and validation of the instrument system makes sense for your situation. Consider the simplicity (or difficulty) of routine calibration, simple diagnostics, whether the system is manufactured in compliance with ISO, and part availability.
- Customer support: While often overlooked, system downtime is costly for any lab and it’s important to ensure the manufacturer of the instrument you choose has timely service response and knowledgeable service personnel who are supported by online resources (application notes, software updates, manuals, etc.).
- Company history and reputation: When spectrophotometers come from a long-time manufacturer, the manufacturer is likely familiar with your needs. A company’s longevity also ensures they can support your system for years to come.
For more detailed information about how these 7 factors influence your specific research considerations, visit our online purchasing guide.
To explore whether one of our NanoDrop Microvolume instruments might be the right fit for your lab, visit our online product guide.
Patrick Brown is the product marketing specialist for the Thermo Scientific NanoDrop Microvolume UV-Vis spectrophotometers.
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