Varioskan LUX Multimode Microplate Reader

We are on the same wavelength

Our newest multimode microplate reader combines simplicity with top-of-the-line performance. Designed for researchers with a wide variety of needs, the Thermo Scientific Varioskan LUX Multimode Microplate Reader offers features that help save time and reduce common errors in the lab—including automated dynamic range selection, which adjusts the optimal reading range based on signal intensities; and built-in safety controls, which alert you to potential errors before they happen.

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Catering to all applications, skill sets

Varioskan LUX is a versatile tool for busy labs. Configure the instrument to your needs, then upgrade when your research focus changes. Supports the following measurement technologies:

  • Absorbance (UV-Vis, including pathlength correction)
  • Fluorescence Intensity (including FRET)
  • Luminescence (direct and filtered, including BRET)
  • AlphaScreen / AlphaLISA
  • Time-resolved fluorescence (including TR-FRET, hTRF)

Flexible wavelength selection

The instrument selects the measurement wavelength using filters or monochromators, depending on which is optimal for each measurement technology.

  • Monochromators in absorbance and fluorescence intensity
  • Filters in AlphaScreen and time-resolved fluorescence
  • Luminescence without wavelength selection (filters can be used if required)

The instrument also allows spectral scanning for ultimate flexibility for identifying the optimal measurement wavelength for any assay, now and in the future.


Automatic dynamic range selection

Many multimode readers require the user to adjust PMT gain voltages manually in order to achieve the optimal sample signals for fluorescence and luminescence assays. But this manual trial and error process takes time, and can result in loss of sensitivity or over-saturation of signals. The Varioskan LUX multimode reader has an automatic dynamic range selection feature designed to automatically select the optimal reading range based on the signal intensity in each well - easing assay setup and helping you get optimal results, every time.

   Read our dynamic range selection smart note

Figure 1. Example of the reached dynamic range and sensitivity in a fluorometric measurement of fluorescein concentration series, performed by Varioskan LUX and a microplate reader from another manufacturer.

Smart safety controls

Smart safety controls

The potential for experimental errors—from user mistakes to power outages—are a frustrating reality of microplate reading. But the Varioskan LUX instrument is designed with automatic safety checks designed to alert you of potential problems before they happen.

  Read our smart safety controls smart note

Integrated gas control

Integrated gas control

Some cell-based assays require precise control over carbon dioxide and oxygen concentrations to keep the atmosphere optimal for cell growth. The ability to control O2 and CO2 levels in your microplate reader replaces the need for constant handling of plates between the incubator and reader, and helps to ensure that cells remain alive throughout the experiment.

  Read our integrated gas control smart note

Figure 2. Kinetic study of the growth of HeLa cells was performed in the Varioskan LUX instrument for 72 hours with and without internal CO2 level control. Average curves of baseline-subtracted fluorescence values of 48 replicates are plotted.

Multiple SkanIt Software results displays
 Click image to enlarge

Our microplate readers come with the Thermo Scientific SkanIt Software, an easy-to-use interface with features designed help prevent common errors and boost productivity. With no limit to the number of PC installations allowed, SkanIt Software gives you the control and flexibility you need to set up assays and analyze data efficiently. Designed for users with a variety of needs and skill levels, our aim was to make SkanIt Software so intuitive that little to no training is required.

In this study, we screened multiple therapeutic drugs using different HTS assays to establish drug dose response curves and to understand the diversity in cell health assays. Despite the absence of guidelines and enabling technologies to study 3D cell models, we show the different impact therapeutics have on 2D versus 3D cell models using existing cellular assays.

Notable HTS instruments used: Varioskan LUX Multimode Microplate Reader and CellInsight CX7 LZR High Content Analysis Platform

See the poster

Microplate reader assays poster thumbnail

Interested in your cell imaging system working with your plate reader?


For plate reading and imaging applications, Thermo Scientific Varioskan LUX Multimode Microplate Readers and Invitrogen EVOS cell imaging systems work together to bring you results—quickly and easily. 

Learn more ›

Available measurement technology configurations

All configurations available with top or top and bottom reading; none, one, or two dispensers; and optional integrated gas modules.

System configuration options
Absorbance and Fluorescence intensity
Absorbance, Fluorescence intensity, and Luminescence
Absorbance, Fluorescence intensity, Luminescence, and AlphaScreen
Absorbance, Fluorescence intensity, Luminescence, and Time-resolved fluorescence  
Absorbance, Fluorescence intensity, Luminescence, Time-resolved fluorescence, and AlphaScreen

Featured Videos

The optimized solution to quantify and visualize cells

See how the Thermo Scientific Varioskan LUX multimode microplate reader and the Invitrogen EVOS Cell Imaging System work together to provide simplified versatility and stunning imagery.

Take a Closer Look

The Varioskan LUX addresses the complexities of typical multimode microplate readers. Watch the video to learn how its unique features will help streamline your research.

Featured Webinar

Next Generation of Multimode Microplate Reading

Watch this webinar and learn how usability can affect productivity and how automatic dynamic range selection helps simplify assay setup.

Full instrument specifications and FAQs

Plate types 6, 384 well plates
Wavelength selection Double monochromators
Wavelength range 200–1,000 nm
Light source Xenon flash lamp
Read out range 0–6 Abs
Linear measurement range 0–4 Abs (96-well plate) at 450 nm, ± 2%
0–3 Abs (384-well plate) at 450 nm, ± 2%
Accuracy 0.003 Abs or ± 2%, at 200–399 nm (0–2 Abs)
0.003 Abs or ± 1%, at 400–1,000 nm (0–3 Abs)
Precision SD <0.001 Abs or CV <0.5%, at 450 nm (0–3 Abs)
Fluorescence Intensity
Plate types 6–1,536 well plates
Wavelength selection  Double excitation and emission monochromators
Excitation wavelength range 200–1,000 nm
Emission wavelength range  270–840 nm
Light source Xenon flash lamp
Sensitivity Top reading: <0.4 fmol fluorescein/well (black 384-well plate)
Bottom reading: <4 fmol fluorescein/well, (clear bottom black 384 square well plate)
Dynamic range Top reading >6 decades
Bottom reading >5.5 decades
Time-resolved fluorescence
Plate types 6–1,536 well plates
Wavelength selection Filters (spectral scanning with double excitation and emission monochromators)
Excitation wavelength range Fixed to 334 nm (spectral scanning 200–840 nm)
Emission wavelength range 400–700 nm (spectral scanning 270–840 nm)
Light source  Xenon flash lamp
Sensitivity <1 amol Eu/well (white low volume 384 well plate)
Dynamic range >6 decades
Plate types 6–1,536 well plates (spectral scanning 6, 384 well plates)
Wavelength selection Direct or filters (spectral scanning with double monochromators)
Wavelength range  360–670 nm
Sensitivity <7 amol ATP/well (white 384-well plate)
Dynamic range >7 decades
Plate types 6, 1,536 well plates
Wavelength selection  Filters
Excitation wavelength range Fixed to 680 nm
Emission wavelength range 400–660 nm
Light source  LED
Sensitivity <100 amol phosphotyrosine/well (white 384-well plate)
Plate types 6, 384 well plates
No. of dispensers None, one or two
Syringe size  1 ml (standard), 5 ml (optional)
Dispensing volume 2–5,000 μl, in 1 µl increments (1 ml syringe)
5–25,000 μl, in 5 µl increments (5 ml syringe)
Accuracy <1 μl with 50 μl (0.4 mm tip)
<0.2 μl with 5 μl (0.25 mm tip)
Precision <1 μl with 50 μl (0.4 mm tip)
<0.25 μl with 5 μl (0.25 mm tip)
Dead volume Reagent loss <100 μl, Total tubing volume <800 μl
Incubator and Shaker
Temperature range From ambient + 4°C to 45 °C
Shaking type  Orbital
Integrated Gas Module
CO2 concentration range 0.1–15%
CO2 concentration stability  ± 0.3% at 5% CO2
O2 concentration range 1–21 %
O2 concentration stability  ±0.3% at 1% O2
General Features
Measurement modes End-point, kinetic, spectra, multipoint and kinetic spectra
Measurement speed Reads a 96-well plate in 15 s, a 384-well plate in 45 s, and a 1,536-well plate in 135 s (minimum times)
Interface  PC software (SkanIt software)
Dimensions (D x W x H) 58 x 53 x 51 cm (23 x 21 x 20 in)
Weight  54–59 kg (119–130 lb), depending on configuration

Q: What instrument features can I add later as an upgrade?

A: Absorbance and fluorescence intensity are included with every instrument. The measurement technologies of the LAT module (Luminescence, AlphaScreen and Time-Resolved Fluorescence) can be upgraded. The only limitation is that the LAT module cannot exist without luminescence technology. Thus, if the researcher wants AlphaScreen and/or time-resolved fluorescence, they will also get luminescence. The dispensers and integrated gas module are also upgradable. Bottom reading, however, must be included in the original order, and cannot be added later.

Q: For what measurement technologies do I need to purchase and install filters?

A: In time-resolved fluorescence and AlphaScreen the instrument requires filters for wavelength selection. The excitation filters for both technologies are built-in, but the emission filters must be ordered and installed separately. When you install filters to the LAT module, you have to enter the filter information to the instrument via SkanIt software. Absorbance and fluorescence intensity technologies use monochromators for wavelength selection, thus filters are not necessary. Most of the luminescence assays do not require any wavelength selection. But if required, filters can be installed.

Q: What measurement technologies allow spectral scanning?

A: The instrument includes monochromators to allow spectral scanning in all measurement technologies except AlphaScreen. The instrument must have the corresponding measurement technology onboard to be able to run spectral scanning.

Q: How do I choose the right plate adapter?

A: The plate adapter lifts the microplate to optimal height for measurement and dispensing. Choose the adapter based on the plate format (96-well, 384-well, etc.) and whether or not the plates have lids. When starting a measurement, the SkanIt software checks that the installed plate adapter is compatible with the plate template selected, and informs you if there’s a mismatch.

Q: When should I use bottom reading?

A: Bottom reading should be used when measuring adherent cells that are at the bottom of the well. From the bottom side the excitation light can be focused more accurately on the cell layer. Bottom reading is available only in fluorescence intensity measurements with an instrument that has the bottom reading option.

Q: There are two dispensing positions in the instrument: F and L. How do I choose the right one?

A: Either position can be used with either dispenser. If the assay reaction is fast and the signal changes quickly after triggering the reaction by dispensing, select the dispensing position which points at the measurement position of the technology you will measure. If you use a dispensing position that does not point at the correct measurement position, the instrument makes an extra plate movement between dispensing and measurement. See Varioskan LUX user manual for more information on which measurement technologies match with dispensing position F or position L.

Q: Varioskan LUX is able to dispense and measure simultaneously. In what type of assay is this important?

A: It is important in fast kinetic assays where the peak signal is reached soon after reaction triggering. If the peak signal is reached in less than a second after dispensing, for example, simultaneous dispensing and measurement allows you to follow the signal progress from the very start of the reaction without losing the signal peak.

Q: How does Varioskan LUX incubator prevent condensation from forming on the microplate lid, and why is it important?

A: Condensation on the microplate lid affects measurement results. In the Varioskan LUX, the microplate is surrounded by temperature-controlled heaters. The upper element is slightly warmer than the lower element to avoid condensation on the plate lid.

Q: Can I install SkanIt software on several computers?

A: Yes, there is no limit on software licenses within the same customer organization. Measurement session files can even be exported and imported between SkanIt software installed on different computers, allowing researchers to work with the software outside the laboratory.

Q: How does the Drug Discovery Edition of SkanIt software differ from the Research Edition?

A: The Drug Discovery Edition offers features required for compliancy with FDA 21 CFR Part 11, a must for the pharma industry. Those special software features provide an audit trail, require an electronic signature, and a prompt to provide a reason for any changes made. Apart from these three special features, the Research Edition and the Drug Discovery Edition have the same features and functionalities.

Q: If I abort the run before it’s finished, does the measurement data disappear?

A: No, the data up to the time of abortion is saved. SkanIt software saves the measurement data automatically and constantly to the software database during a run. If a long kinetic measurement is aborted either unexpectedly or intentionally, the data does not disappear.


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