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  How to configure and order a perfusion system  
  AutoMate Scientific sells complete perfusion systems as well as individual components. This can make it confusing for customers to determine which pieces they need to order. We hope this guide helps.

1. Gravity, bath perfusion systems
2. Pressurized, fast, local drug application
3. Temperature control
4. Putting it all together

1. Gravity, bath perfusion systems
Our Perfusion Systems are complete gravity, bath perfusion systems. You can choose the number of channels (liquids), one of two valve controllers (ValveBank or ValveLink) and one of three different kinds of valves (pinch, PTFE-inert, and Lee valves).

Everything you need for a regular gravity perfusion system is included: Controller, valves, reservoirs, ringstand, 1/16” i.d tubing and 4-, 8-, or 16-into-1 micro- manifold with flow regulator. Gravity PTFE-inert systems include drippers and a reservoir bracket.

This Perfusion System is ideal for switching solutions flowing into a perfusion chamber for slice electrophysiology, oocytes, imaging, etc. with flow rates from near zero up to 6-10 ml/ minute. We usually recommend “pinch” valves (cheapest and easiest to clean) unless you need faster switching.

Our ValveLink controller is designed for customers who have digital/TTL outputs from their computer -- from data acquisition software like pCLAMP, Pulse, Patchmaster, WinWCP, MetaMorph, etc. or I/O hardware with software like LabView or MATLAB.

Alternatively, our ValveBank controller is completely programmable without needing a computer. It is ideal for setups without computer control or imaging software with only 1-2 digital trigger or shutter outputs.

17-pp-54 ValveLink8 Pinch Valve Perfusion System
2x #01-05 Low-noise grounding packages (4 valves each)
01-20 Full BNC cable or alternate cable for Heka amplifiers
Imaging or No Digital Outputs
13-pp-54 ValveBank8 Pinch Valve Perfusion System

2. Pressurized, fast, local drug application
For customers needing faster switching times (ligand-gated channels, etc.) we recommend local drug application -- often called “spritzing” or “superfusion.” This means the perfusion tubes meet in a smaller manifold with a tiny tip for squirting solution directly at a patch or region of interest. AutoMate Scientific’s Perfusion Pencil can achieve switching times below 10 milliseconds WITHOUT the need of “steppers” or piezo switchers.

This manifold combines 4, 8 or 16 tubes into a single, removable tip with a micro dead volume of 2-3 μl. When the perfusion system’s valves upstream switch from one liquid to the next, the change happens inside the Perfusion Pencil tip resulting in very fast switching times.

For researchers who need faster switching times, steadier flow rates, fine microliter delivery or small pipette tips, we recommend adding a Pressure Upgrade to the perfusion system. These pressurized syringe reservoirs with regulator push liquids out much faster than gravity, especially with small Perfusion Pencil tips. But air pressure is much more quiet (electrically and audibly), more smooth and more reliable than peristaltic pumps.

Electrophysiologists often need their solutions bubbled with Carbogen for slice oxygenation. For many years, AutoMate Scientific’s Pressure Upgrade Kit was incompatible with bubbling because the syringe reservoirs are closed air-tight. However, we have created the new Oxygen8™ Bubbled Pressure Upgrade which simultaneously bubbles all of the solutions and pressurizes them.

04-04-xxx Perfusion Pencil with 100, 250 or 360μm tip
09-04 Perfusion Pressure Upgrade
09-14 Oxygen8 Bubbled Pressure Upgrade
04-08-xxx Perfusion Pencil with 100, 250 or 360μm tip
09-08 Perfusion Pressure Upgrade
09-18 Oxygen8 Bubbled Pressure Upgrade

3. Temperature control
AutoMate Scientific’s standard perfusion systems are all room-temperature by default, but we offer several temperature control options: 1) ThermoClamp® inline heater, 2) BubbleStop™ syringe reservoir heater, 3) Bioptechs stage heaters and 4) objective heaters. Most of the thermal mass your cells experience originates from the liquids flowing over them. Therefore, the most effective temperature control is a good inline solution heater which is positioned as close to the prep as possible.

Our ThermoClamp maintains your solution and bath temperature to within 1.0 °C (often within 0.1 °C) using a thermocouple in your perfusion chamber and another in the heater. It shares a similar design to our Perfusion Pencils mentioned above, for rapid solution switching from a fine removable tip while also maintaining 37 °C or any desired temperature between ambient and 50 °C.

When used with cold solutions (i.e. stored in the refrigerator overnight), inline heaters can create bubbles inside their tubing. Many people mistakenly believe these bubbles come from air leaking into the tubing, but they actually form because warm liquids cannot hold as much gas as cold solutions. The solutions release gas when heated, and cause bubbles which can interrupt your perfusion flow.

AutoMate Scientific has designed an economical syringe heater block called the BubbleStop™ which pre-heats the liquids so they off-gas before entering your tubing.

03-14-xxx ThermoClamp Inline Heater
10-4-60-G BubbleStop Syringe Heater - Gravity
10-4-60-P BubbleStop Syringe Heater - Pressure
03-18-xxx ThermoClamp Inline Heater
10-8-60-G BubbleStop Syringe Heater - Gravity
10-8-60-P BubbleStop Syringe Heater - Pressure

4. Putting it all together
To order a pressurized or temperature-controlled perfusion system, you should start with one of our unheated, gravity systems, and add the additional pieces you need. Here are some examples:

4-Channel Pressurized Perfusion System
17-01-23 ValveLink8 PTFE-Inert Perfusion System
09-04 Perfusion Pressure Upgrade
04-04-100 Perfusion Pencil with 100μm tip
01-29 USB cable
8-Channel Heated Perfusion System
13-11-57 ValveBank8 Lee Valve Perfusion System
03-18-360 ThermoClamp Inline Heater with 360μm tip
10-8-60-G BubbleStop Syringe Heater - Gravity
VB-1600 Heka EPC-10 ValveBank Interface Cable

8-Channel Kitchen Sink Heated Imaging System
13-01-53 ValveBank8 PTFE-Inert Perfusion System
01-03-2000 EasyCode ValveBank Programming Software
09-T18 Oxygen8 Bubbled Pressure Kit - Top Half
10-8-60-G BubbleStop Syringe Heater - Bottom
03-18-250 ThermoClamp Inline Heater with 250μm tip
01-15 ValveBank Parallel Port Cable to MetaMorph
Bi-0420-4 Delta T Open Dish Heated Stage System
Vac Vacuum Pump
Canister Vacuum Trap
8-Channel Ultimate Slice Electrophys System
17-11-57 ValveLink8 Lee Valve Perfusion System
01-05 x 2 Low-noise Grounding Packages
01-20 Full BNC cable to DigiData
09-T18 Oxygen8 Bubbled Pressure Kit - Top Half
10-8-60-G BubbleStop Syringe Heater - Bottom
03-18-250 ThermoClamp Inline Heater with 250μm tip
S-BSC1 Brain Slice Chamber-1: Interface and Submerged
S-PTC03 Chamber Temperature Controller
Canister Vacuum Trap


We offer a great web form to help build you own perfusion system. Just answer a few questions, enter your contact info, and click Submit for a customized quote here.

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