Microarray Scanners are used to perform microarray analysis by acquiring images of laser induced fluorescence.
What is a Mircoarray?
A microarray is a tool used to analyze gene expression. The microarray consists of a small membrane of glass slide containing samples of many genes arranged in a regular pattern. Microarrays allow scientists to analyze expression (which genes are turned "on") quickly and accurately. The system is used to understand fundamental aspects of growth and development and to explore the genetic causes of many human diseases.
Gene expression on a microarray chip.
Image Credit: Dr. Leming Shi, Chipscreen Biosciences Ltd.
The mircoarray scanner or reader is the last step before analysis. The device consists of lasers, a special microscope, and a camera. The DNA material in the microarray is labeled with fluorescents which become excited by the lasers in the scanner. The microscope and camera work together to create a digital image of the array. The data is stored in a computer and a program is used either calculate the red-to-green fluorescent ratio or to subtract out background data for each microarray spot by analyzing the digial image of the array.
Scanner layout. Image Credit: Hamamatsu
Selection of a mircoarray for a particular application requires consideration of specifications such as sensitivity and resolution, scan area, rapidity of scan, and positional performance. Features such as multiple laser and filter options, ease of use, and upgrade options to meet future needs should also be considered.
Excellent video explaining microarrays and their analysis. Video Credit: Bentripp