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Publication Date: 2009-Jul-21
Document File: 9 page(s) / 562K

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The Prior Art Database

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system for loading and unloading microarray holder from Carriage

The present invention relates, in general, to a DNA microarray scanner. More specifically, the present invention relates to a mechanism used in the DNA microarray scanner for loading and unloading a microarray holder from a carriage.

            A typical DNA microarray scanner includes a carousel for stacking one or more microarray holders. A microarray holder is used to hold a microarray chip that needs to be scanned. At present, the DNA microarray scanner uses a robotic arm to pull the microarray holder from the carousel and place it in a carriage before initiating the scanning process. Thereafter, the carriage is moved to scan the microarray chip present in the microarray holder. After scanning, the robotic arm pulls back the microarray holder from the carriage and places it back in the carousel.

            However, the current mechanism includes a complex arrangement of multiple components which leads to unreliable performance of the robotic arm and produces undesirable noise during the loading process. Furthermore, the complex arrangement demands higher cost, increasing the overall cost of the DNA microarray scanner.

            The present invention provides a system for easy loading and unloading of a microarray holder from a carriage. In various embodiments of the invention, the system may include a first support for stacking one or more microarray holders, a position sensor, a microarray holder sensor, a rotary sensor, one or more drive wheels, one or more free wheels, and a tape wound around the drive wheels and free wheels. Further, the housing includes at least two of free wheels, drive wheels, and the carriage. Furthermore, the tape is provided with projections at both the ends to help push the microarray holder in and out of the carriage.

In operation, the microarray holder is pushed from the first support into the carriage by a projection at one end of the tape. Thereafter, the microarray chip present in the microarray holder is scanned. Further, once the scanning process is complete, a projection at the other end of the tape pushes the microarray holder out of the carriage, thereby sliding the microarray holder into the first support. The functioning of the system and its various components has been explained in detail in conjunction with the figures below.

            FIG. 1 depicts a schematic diagram of a system 100, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In an embodiment of the invention, system 100 includes a microarray holder 102, a carriage 104, a first support 106, a drive wheel 108, one or more free wheels, such as free wheels 110a, 110b, 110c (also collectively referred to as free wheels 110), a tape 112, a second support 114, a microarray holder sensor 116, a po...