Top New Products Showcase Innovation

There were certainly no lack of nominees for IBO’s choice of the top three product introductions at Pittcon 2008. In choosing the top three products, IBO selected systems that demonstrated notable technical achievements based on the vendor’s specifications, were innovative in their analytical approach and product packaging, and demonstrated real commercial potential. After all, the best products not only raise the bar in terms of performance, but meet end-users’ existing needs. These three products solve clearly defined and long standing problems, whether it’s the tedious and time consuming process of gel electrophoresis, the analysis time and sensitivity limitations of lifetime fluorescence, or the effective transformation of a lab technique into a field instrument.

First Place

Shimadzu introduced the MCE-202 MultiNA microchip electrophoresis system for DNA and RNA size confirmation and quantitation analysis. This system uses microfluidics technology to conduct fully automated high-speed electrophoresis separation that replaces agarose gel electrophoresis and pipetting. The system features a reusable microfluidic chip, which can be used 3,600 times for automatic operation of up to 120 analysis cycles. All processes are completely automated, including microchip rinsing, filling with separation buffer, introduction of sample, electrophoresis separation and fluorescent detection.

In addition, the MultiNA accepts as many as four microchips for parallel processing of analysis pretreatment and electrophoresis, resulting in a processing speed of just 75 seconds per analysis. Analysis requires as little as 2 µL of sample. According to Shimadzu, the cost per analysis on the MultiNA is typically less than, or at least comparable to, gel-based techniques and about a quarter of the cost of current microfluidics-based systems.

The MultiNA system started shipping in Japan in the fall 2007 and is now available in the North American market. The North American list price has yet to be determined. Shimadzu expects to sell more than 400 systems by 2009.

Second Place

Horiba Jobin Yvon introduced a completely new lifetime fluorescence spectrometer that offers an impressive reduction in analysis time from minutes to seconds. The technological innovation that is at the heart of the MF2 involves the measurement of eight frequencies simultaneously, rather than sequentially, which reduces fluorescence lifetime analysis times from minutes to milliseconds, according to Horiba. The system enables new types of measurements with fluorescence.

Major applications for the instrument involve protein dynamics and in areas such as biotechnology, agriculture, food and biopolymers. While the MF2 offers a major improvement in analysis time, it is also priced significantly lower than conventional lifetime fluorescence systems now on the market. It starts at around $50,000.

Third Place

Ahura Scientific introduced the TruDefender HT handheld FT-IR, which sets an impressive benchmark in size and weight. At less than three pounds and small enough to fit into the pocket of a pair of cargo pants, this handheld instrument is truly “handheld.” The TruDefender HT utilizes a built-in diamond ATR sampling head and has a rugged construction for applications with HazMat teams and first responders. The system uses either rechargeable or disposable conventional batteries, yet still offers four wavenumber resolution. It is priced starting at $45,000 and is expected to ship this month.

Honorable Mentions:

Bruker AXS SMART X2S X-ray Crystallography System

Bruker Optics MultiRAM FT-Raman Spectrometer

CEM Sprint Protein Analyzer

Dionex ASE 150 and 350

ERLAB GreenFumeHood

GE Analytical InnovOx TOC Analyzer

LECO AC600 Bomb Calorimeter

Ocean Optics LAMP Spectrometer

Thermo Fisher Scientific DXR SmartRaman Spectrometer

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