Autosamplers are automated sample loaders, usually robotic, used with chromatography, atomic absorption and other analytical technologies. Autosamplers are designed especially for laboratories that process large numbers of samples on a routine basis. They are used for a variety of tasks, ranging from general HPLC needs up to dedicated solutions for high sample throughput. Most are designed to interface with PC systems, and some autosamplers can be remotely computer controlled. Complete remote control of all operational parameters such as injection time, number of injections per vial, rinses, three auxiliary contact closures, and internal injection valve actuation are available by means of optional serial or parallel interfaces.
Autosamplers may use a variety of receptacles to accept sample or reagent injection. These include simple vials, wellplates, or graphite furnace sample cups. Wellplates, also known as microplates, are plastic plates or cassettes containing a specified number (typically 96 or 384) of small wells arranged in rows. Researchers commonly use them to conduct numerous chemical reactions at the same time. Graphite furnaces are used in atomic absorption spectroscopy to atomize a sample. The sample crucible is usually a cup cut from hollow aluminum or magnesia tubing. Syringes or injector valves are the usual methods used to inject materials into the testing receptacles. Some varieties of autosamplers are specifically configured for one type of receptacle platform, while others can use them interchangeably.
Autosamplers are used in a wide variety of applications. These can range from analysis of Organic Volatile Impurities (OVIs), plastics, polymers, blood alcohol analysis, and flavors, to semiconductor applications and any ultratrace analysis of commonly occurring elements. Clinical applications including drinking water testing, wastewater analysis and reclamation projects, soil composition, toxicity analysis. In addition, a range of QA/QC control procedures, such as the EPA protocols, can be automated using the optional Intelligent Sequencing Software.