|Title of Invention||
"A DEVICE FOR THE AUTOMATED ANALYSIS OF A LIQUID SAMPLE"
|Abstract||A device for automated analysis of a liquid sample, this device including a succession of disposable cells (C) each comprising a bottom, an upper face opposite to the bottom, having an aperture and two opposite rims (Rl, R2) which extend on either side of the cell substantially in the plane of the aperture, the cells are positioned side by side and made integral with each other by a flexible film (3) fixed on said rims (R1, R2), at least partially covering the apertures of said cells (C), and having a succession of ports (4) respectively located at right angles to the apertures of said cells, these ports being dimensioned so as to allow contactless engagement of injection and/or sampling means, an optical detection station (7) comprising an optoelectronic detector (27) positioned underneath the bottom of the cell, characterized in that the optical detection station (7) further comprises a light source (26) located above the cell and illuminating the upper face of the latter and in that the film (3) is made in light-diffusing material.|
|Full Text||The present invention relates to a device for automatically analysing a liquid sample. It is more specifically but not exclusively aimed at improving an automatic device able to be used for determining the modification times of a medium in a physical state.
This device is particularly applicable to determining blood coagulation in accordance with a process according to which the blood sample is placed at the bottom of a bowl containing a ferromagnetic ball driven in a periodic movement under the effect of an external magnetic field. The modifications of the movements of the ferromagnetic ball (for example the amplitude and/or • • frequency variations), which are representative of changes of the physical state of the blood, are then detected with the aid of suitable means.
This type of device is described in the patent WO 99 64839 filed in the name of the Junior Instruments company.
It. includes a bowl distributor for sole usage, each bowl including a bent . inward bottom constituting the rolling path of the ball, and a face opposite the bottom having an opening. These bowls are placed side by side and fixed on a flexible film in such a way that they can be moved, said film sealing off their openings. The film equipped with bowls can be wound onto a coil able to be engaged on an element provided in a storage and distribution compartment of the device. The bowls run off one by one into a detection station.
As the support film seals off the openings of the bowl, a slit needs to be made by incision so as to allow the pipette to pass through. Once this is done, pressure is exerted on the film so as to disconnect the bowl.
Moreover, the presence of this slit renders the pipette operation more delicate with a risk of staining the film.
In addition, the presence of the film implies the use of a powerful light source and the homogeneity of the beam generated by this source through the bowl shall be disturbed by both the presence of the slit and any possible stains present on the film. Moreover, the heterogeneous medium traversed by the beam generated by the source generates multiple reflections, especially against the walls and edges of the bowls, which risks falsifying the analysis of the movement of the ferromagnetic ball.
Therefore, the object of the invention is to resolve these drawbacks.
To this effect, it concerns a device for the automated analysis of a liquid sample, said device comprising a series of bowls for sole usage, each including a bottom, one upper face opposite the bottom having one opening and two opposing shoulders extending on both sides of the bowl approximately inside the plane of the opening, the bowls being placed side by side and joined to each other by a flexible film secured to said shoulders and covering, at least partially, the openings of said bowls.
According to the invention, this device is characterised in that the film has a series of orifices situated respectively at the right of the openings of the bowls.
The device may include an optical detection station introducing a light source, for example infrared, illuminating the upper face of the bowl and an opto-electronic detector placed below the bottom, the aim of the light being intended to allow reading of the movement of the ball via opto-electronic detection.
In this case, the film can be made from a diffusing material for the infrared light rendering the lighting luminous beam more homogeneous. The dimensions of the orifice shall then be determined in particular according to
the dimensions of the pipette, its position and the sought-after homogeneity of the intensity of the luminous beams traversing a predetermined effective volume of the bowl.
In a case where the device determines the modification times of the physical state of a sample contained in the bowl by detecting the movements of a ball moving on the bottom of the bowl, said orifice could have the shape of an oblong opening centered partially on the rolling path of the ball and whose width is slightly smaller than the diameter of the ball.
Advantageously, the material constituting the film could have liquid absorption properties, such as pores, so as to fix any possible projections of liquid and of therefore reducing the risks of contamination of the samples contained in the bowls adjacent to the bowl currently being analysed.
This device could also include a pipette station introducing a pipette moving transversally with respect to the reeling off axis of the bowls. So as to mitigate an inaccuracy of the movement of the pipette, applying said pipette to the film or its edges possibly resulting in the falling out of step unhooking of the bowls and/or the projections, the orifices of the film extending along an axis transversal to said reeling off axis of the bowls.
Moreover, this device could include a station for cutting the analysed bowls so as to receive them in a single container.
It is to be noted that this bowls/film unit remains adaptable to already existing models.
One embodiment of the invention is described hereafter and is given by way of non-restrictive example with reference to the accompanying drawings on which:
Figure 1 is a diagrammatic representation of an average-sized automatic analysis device ;
Figure 2 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a bowl mounted on the film ;
Figure 3 is a diagrammatic top view of the film equipped with its bowls and the rack drive system ;
Figure 4 is a diagrammatic vertical section along A/A of figure 3.
In this example, the automatic analysis device 1 introduces a bowl feed comprising a series of about one hundred bowls forming a strip 2.
As shown on figure 2, the bowls C embodied by moulding a transparent plastic material, each bowl having a flat parallelpiped-shaped body whose bent inward bottom FI constitutes a rolling path for a ferromagnetic ball BE. Opposite this bottom FI, the bowl C has an opening, its two opposing edges BO1, BO2 being extended at a right angle by two respective shoulders R1, R2 each provided with a cylindrical protuberance PC extending on the side opposite the body. These two protuberances are intended to be forcefully engaged in two respective holes TR respectively provided on the two lateral borders of the film. The shoulders R1, R2 have for example the shape of an isosceles trapezium whose large base is integral with the bowl. The lateral borders of a support film 3 then have in the interval of the shoulders Rl R2 of the bowls sets of trapezoidal cuts whose oblique edges extend to the right of the oblique edges of the shoulders R1 R2 of the bowls. Thanks to these provisions, the side edges of film present each one a notched profile whose teeth are accentuated by the edges RI, R2 of the bowls.
The film is flexible and is made of an absorbent material, such as paper. Each bowl is pierced at the top with an oblong orifice 4 extending along the longitudinal axis of the bowls transversally to the run-off axis of the bowls.
According to the device shown on figure 4, the strip of bowls 2 is guided by a rail 5. This rail has a U-shaped section whose two vertical wings are extended at a right angle by two shoulders R3, R4, the shoulders R1, R2 rest onto the shoulders R3, R4. The strip passes in succession through a pipette station 6, a detection station 7 and a cutting station 8 at the outlet of which each analysed bowl being recovered in a container 9 provided for this purpose.
The functioning of these various stations is controlled by a processor P comprising a central unit and peripheral units, such as a screen 10/keyboard 11 unit.
The driving of the film 3 is ensured by a drive mechanism introducing an endless belt 12 guided at each extremity by rollers 13, 14. This belt comprises a serration whose notches are spaced by a distance equal to a multiple of the width of the bowls (for example 4-5 bowls). These notches have an involute to a circle profile which corresponds to a normal tooth-shaped rack so as to fully gear between the teeth of the serrated profile of the strip; thus, these notches accurately drive the strip of bowls with self-centering and compensation of any possible play.
The pipette station 6 is controlled by an automated vertical height-adjustable pipette 15 so as to be able to assume a lower pipette or rinsing position and an upper position enabling it to move inside a horizontal plane.
This pipette 15 is fixed to one of the extremities of an arm 16 mounted rotating by its other extremity around a vertical spindle 17. The driving in rotation of the arm 16 is ensured by a motor controlled by the processor P.
By means of this particularly simple mechanism, the pipette 15 can be successively brought to the pipette area of the pipette station 6, a diametrically opposite rinsing station 18 equipped with one or several rinsing bowls, and two sampling areas 19, 20 placed symmetrically with respect to the axis passing through the pipette area 6 and the rinsing area 18.
The sampling areas 19, 20 are situated in the path of the receptacles RE1 RE2 borne by two respective carrousels CR1, CR2 moving in rotation around two vertical spindles 21, 22 and controlled by two motors controlled by the processor P.
One of these carrousels CR1 is used to contain the receptacles RE1 of the blood samples to be analysed, whereas the other carrousel CR2 contains receptacles RE2 allocated to the various reactive agents able to be used as part of the analyses it is desired to carry out.
Of course, the processor P is programmed so as to control pipette sequences appropriate to the nature of the analyses to be conducted and possibly successively including :
- a prior rinsing of the pipette 15,
- the taking of a sample dose contained in one of the receptacles REj of the carrousel CR1,
- the injection of this dose into a bowl C situated in the pipette station
- the rinsing of the pipette 15,
- the taking of a reactive agent dose contained in one of the receptacles RE2 of the carrousel CR2,
- the injection of this reactive agent dose into the bowl C,
- the identification of the blood samples to be analysed and that of the reactive agents being carried out automatically by means of a bar code reader 23 able to carry out a reading of the bar codes present on the receptacles REb RE2 borne by the carrousels CR1 CR2.
In this example, for these readings, the sole bar code reader 23 is mounted at the extremity of an arm 24 pivoting around a vertical spindle 25 so as to be able to occupy three positions, namely :
- a position P1 for reading the bar codes of the receptacles RE1 of the carrousel CR1
- a position P2 for reading the bar codes of the receptacles RE2 of the carrousel CR2, and
- a position P3 for reading the receptacles placed by the operator in a reading station with a view, for example, of entering the information exploited by the processor within the context of functioning of the device.
The measuring station 7 here includes three successive measuring positions, each including (figure 4) a pair of coaxial electromagnets E1; E'i -E2, E'2 - E3, E'3 situated on both sides of the film (3) at the right of the lateral faces of the bowls C.
The station 7 also includes :
- an infrared light source 26 situated above the bowl,
- a load transfer detector bar (DTC) 27 situated below the bowls C borne by the film onto which the image of the ball illuminated by the light source is projected.
The use of several measuring positions on the path of the film has the advantage of permitting greater flexibility of operation.
It is to be noted that the light source, which is secured to the rail 5, moreover ensures support via the top of the bowls/film unit so as to avoid the coming out of the rail.
The electromagnets E1, E1 - E2, E'2 - E3, E'3 are excited by a power circuit PR controlled by the processor P so as to generate a magnetic pulse field able to drive the ball BE along an alternative movement at the bottom of the bowl C.
The camera 27 is coupled to the processor P which carries out a real time analysis of the image by means of a suitable software so as to measure the amplitude of the oscillations of the ball BE and determine the critical instant when this amplitude falls below a specific threshold (for example 50% of the initial amplitude).
Of course, the processor P counts the time between the moment when the reactive agent has been injected into the bowl C and this critical instant so as to deduce from this a coagulation time.
The movements of the film are synchronised with the operating times of each of the stations of the device and in particular with the magnetic filed pulses generated by the coils.
The pipette station could also be situated at the same location as the measuring station.
Of course, the invention is not limited to the embodiment previously described.
Thus, for example, each infrared source/camera unit could have a field including several bowls each excited by a pair of separate electromagnets so as to follow the bowl over a forward movement of several steps with a processor P programmed to simultaneously detect the movements of the balls of different bowls.
1. A device for automated analysis of a liquid sample, this device including a succession of
disposable cells (C) each comprising a bottom, an upper face opposite to the bottom, having
an aperture and two opposite rims (Rl, R2) which extend on either side of the cell
substantially in the plane of the aperture, the cells are positioned side by side and made
integral with each other by a flexible film (3) fixed on said rims (R1, R2), at least partially
covering the apertures of said cells (C), and having a succession of ports (4) respectively
located at right angles to the apertures of said cells, these ports being dimensioned so as to
allow contactless engagement of injection and/or sampling means, an optical detection
station (7) comprising an optoelectronic detector (27) positioned underneath the bottom of
the cell, characterized in that
the optical detection station (7) further comprises a light source (26) located above the cell and illuminating the upper face of the latter and in that the film (3) is made in light-diffusing material.
2. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the dimensions of the port (4) are determined according to the dimensions of the pipette, to its position as well as to the sought-after homogeneity of the intensity of the light beams passing through a predetermined useful volume of the cell.
3. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bottom of the cells (C) form the rolling path of a ball (BE) driven by an external magnetic field.
4. The device as claimed in claims 2 and 3, wherein the aforesaid port (4) has the shape of an aperture with an axis parallel to the rolling path of the ball (BE) and the width of which is slightly less than the diameter of the ball.
5. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the material forming the film has liquid
6. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the succession of cells follows a course successively passing through a pipeting station (6), a detection station (7) and a station for cutting out (8) analyzed cells.
7. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said analyzed cells (C) are collected in a single container (9).
8. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said rims (R1, R2) have a shape such that they may engage between the notches of a drive belt.
9. The device as claimed in claim 8, wherein said notches have a circle involute profile which corresponds to a rack with normal teeth.
10. The device as claimed in any of claims 8 and 9, wherein said rims (Ri, R2) have the shape of an isosceles trapezium, the large base of which is integral with the cell (C).
11. The device as claimed in claim 10, wherein the side borders of the film (3) have in the interval of the rims (Ri, R2), successive cells of the trapezoidal cut-outs, the oblique edges of which extend at right angles to the oblique edges of the rims (Ri, R2).
12. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the light source of said detection station (7) is a source of infrared light (26) and the optoelectronic detector is a camera.
13. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the support of the light source fixed on the rail (5) holds the cells (C)/ film (3) assembly from the top.
14. The device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the external magnetic field is generated by
electromagnetic means (E1, E'1-E2, E'2-E3, E'3,) placed sideways relatively to the succession
of cells at right angles to their side faces.
|Indian Patent Application Number||2112/DELNP/2004|
|PG Journal Number||12/2014|
|Date of Filing||21-Jul-2004|
|Name of Patentee||DIAGNOSTICA STAGO,|
|Applicant Address||9 RUE DES FRERES CHAUSSON 92600 ASNIERES, FRANCE,|
|PCT International Classification Number||G01N35/02|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/FR03/00253|
|PCT International Filing date||2003-01-28|