Thermocycler "state" vs "profile"

Changing a Thermocycler state is a simple status update to the condition of the Thermocycler. Some example use cases are opening a closed lid, and setting starting conditions at the beginning of your protocol.

A Thermocycler profile is a set of timed temperature changes that can cycle together.

Both Thermocycler state changes and profiles pause the robot as they occur.

Changing the Thermocycler state

To change the hold state of the Thermocycler, build a Thermocycler step and select the “Change Thermocycler state” option.

Using this step you can control:

  1. Thermocycler block temperature

  2. Lid temperature

  3. Lid position (open or closed)

Thermocycler lid

Undefined lid position and Thermocycler starting state

When a Thermocycler is added to a protocol its default starting state is the block deactivated, the lid deactivated, but it is unknown whether the lid starts open or closed.

You cannot build a Transfer or Mix step that interacts with plates in the Thermocycler if the lid state is closed or unknown. The robot will stop itself from executing a step in a protocol that may cause a pipette and lid collision. For this reason in order to build a pipetting step that involves the Thermocycler you will first need to build a Thermocycler step that sets the lid to open. This is a failsafe that will ensure that when this protocol is run on a robot there is no possibility for lid and pipette collision.

Pipette motion when opening the lid

While the Thermocycler lid is changing position the robot will move the pipettes to above the trash.

Thermocycler profiles

To program a Thermocycler profile build a Thermocycler step and select the “Program a Thermocycler profile” option.

Sections of a profile

  1. Profile settings: This section of the step allows you to define your sample volume as well as the lid temperature for the profile. The lid must be closed for a profile to run. Prior to this Thermocycler step, if the lid was open it will close. If the lid was already closed it will remain closed.

  2. Steps: This is where you build the steps of the profile.

  3. Ending hold: This is the ‘infinite hold’ or ‘final hold’ state the Thermocycler will maintain after it’s done with the profile.

Profile steps

Creating steps that do not repeat/cycle

Use the “+ Step” button right above the Ending Hold section to add a non-repeating step to the profile.

Creating a set of steps that repeat/cycle together

Use the “+ Cycle” button (Arrow 1) above the Ending hold to add a cycle to the profile. This will create a box that has its own “+ Step” button (Arrow 2). Steps created inside the cycle box will cycle together. Use the cycles field (Arrow 3) to define how many times the steps in this box will cycle.

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