04 Feb 2013, Vipul Murarka, BioSpectrum
Tips of pipettes that are used in a laboratory need to be discarded in order to prevent their re-use and avoid contamination. However, such procedures will soon become a thing of past. IonPlasma has developed a new technology by which the pipette tips can now be reused after just 30 seconds and this can save up to $30,000 per year.
The technology, which uses plasma to clean pipette tips and other fluid holding systems and is called the TipCharger system, has been developed by Mr Paul Hensley and Mr Charles Carney, who co-filed the original patent. The TipCharger system was initially brought to market by Cerionx, a firm established by Mr Hensley. In 2009, Mr Henlsey reacquired exclusive rights to the patents and the designs of the TipCharger product and formed IonField Systems. In January 2013, IonField joined hands with Tekon Biotech, a leading full-service distributor, to researcher laboratories as exclusive distributor in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
BioSpectrum connects with Mr Paul Hensley, CEO, IonField Systems, to understand more about the technology and about their focus on the Asia Pacific (APAC) market.
Please explain our readers in detail about your IonPlasma technology
The term plasma was first adopted by Nobel Prize winning chemist Irving Langmuir in 1927 to describe the properties of gases ionized by high voltage to form free electrons and positive ions in a neutral background gas. Unlike solids, liquids or gases, plasma is electrically conductive and strongly affected by electromagnetic fields. Therefore, plasma is often referred to as the fourth state of matter.
Plasma surface treatment has been widely used in the automotive, aerospace and electronics industries for ultra-fine surface cleaning. For life sciences, our TipCharger system utilizes the patented IonPlasma Technology to instantly break down any contaminants on the surfaces of pipette tips.
IonPlasma is atmospheric pressure plasma generated by electron streamers that fire off the dielectric barrier when the right frequency and power levels are achieved. The streamers ionize the air and any water vapor in the air. The main reactive products in the ionized gases are ozone, high energy oxygen, singlet oxygen and hydroxyl ions.
These species combined with the dense electron cloud provides the energy to trigger rapid ionization of organic molecules and the conversion of water and other solvents that may be present in samples from a liquid to a gas state. The rapid ionization and liquid-to-gas conversion clean and decontaminate pipette tips for immediate reuse.
What kind of contaminants can be cleaned using your IonPlasma technology?
The IonPlasma technology has been widely used to remove contaminants such as DNA, RNA, protein, and small molecules. It is also very effective in removing microbial contaminants such as E. Coli and fungi.
What all products do you have that use this technology ?
The TipCharger Plasma Treatment System, powered by the IonPlasma technology, cleans and decontaminates pipette tips for immediate reuse. A TipCharger system can be easily added onto an automated liquid handling platform with eight, 96 or 384-channel pipetting format.
What are the advantages of using IonPlasma technology?
First of all, by enabling pipette tip reuse, IonPlasma technology and the TipCharger system save researchers >90 percent on pipette tip cost. IonPlasma breaks down contaminants in the molecular level and offers superior cleaning comparing to any other tip cleaning methods. And, because there is no liquid or solid waste after plasma treatment, the liquid-handling related biohazard waste management cost is also reduced.
What is the cost of the products that you supply?
We offer three models for the TipCharger system: 8-channel, 96-channel and 384-channel format. Our customers typically see return of investment within the first year.
Please tell us about your partnership with Tekon Biotech.
We are very pleased to be working with Tekon as our distributor. Working together, we look forward to providing our cost saving plasma technology to researchers in the Chinese life sciences market.
Are you looking out for distributors in other Asia Pacific countries as well? What are your target markets?
Asia Pacific is a very important market for the company, and we are working closely with our partners to grow business in this region. It is one of the fastest growing regions for life sciences, and we are excited about business opportunities in China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.