Technology overview


Intermediate Loop Decompression (ILD™) is a technology for accurate UHPLC injection.


A special injection valve makes our Integrity ready for injections into UHPLC systems up to 120 MPa (18,000 PSI).
ILD™ is a new innovative feature on our injection valve for UHPLC. The proprietary design comprises a unique stator-rotor combination with an extra radial relief slit. This configuration enables loop decompression prior to sample aspiration. Ultra-fast valve switching further reduces pressure shocks to a minimum. The result is highly accurate sample injection down to 1 µl and much longer column life time. Combined with the entire range of sample care and sample prep features, INTEGRITY™ adds unsurpassed performance to your UHPLC assays.


Flow Through Desorption (FTD™) is required for Dried Blood Spot (DBS) Automation.


FTD™ is an innovative concept for extraction of Dried Blood Spots without punching discs out of the DBS filter card. FTD™ enables automation of the entire workflow for Dried Blood Spot (DBS) analysis by LC-MS/MS. Without any manual intervention! A uniquely designed high pressure clamp connects solvent lines to the center of the spot allowing desorption of the sample from the clamped spot area directly into a (SPE)/LC/MS/MS system.

A DBS autosampler is currently under development. Together with a number of partners we are also exploring the potential and further instrumental requirements of the FTD™ concept.


Sample Barcode Identification (SBI™) for Zero doubts on sample identity.


1D and 2D sample and sample tray identification codes can be read, filed and linked to sample assay results. It is even possible to record an image of the vial during sampling for visual verification of the injection and the sample vial afterwards. Combined with positive feedback motion control for the sample tray positioning, the risk of assigning results to the wrong sample is zero.


Advanced Monitoring and recording of Injection system Performance during analytical runs.


Injecting the proper sample is one thing but how to verify that the injection itself has been performed correctly?
The answer is pressure monitoring of the sample flow path during the entire injection cycle! Pressure profiles of injection cycles are recorded for every injection and by comparison with reference profiles, indications for malfunctioning caused by blockage, leakage, air bubbles, needle damage, valve problems, etc can be easily recognized in case of suspected erroneous results. The injection pressure profile (“pneumogram”) can be linked to assay reports for easy verification afterwards.
Obviously, preventing malfunction is better than correcting the consequences. Therefore other Spark technologies also check for needle obstruction and missing vials before injecting a sample. Plus, the injection pressure monitor prevents formation of air bubbles by adjusting the aspiration speed of the dispenser in case of viscous samples or partly blocked needle. Improper injections have become virtually impossible, but if it happens – you will know it!


A smart combination of air and solvent streams enables thorough cleaning of the needle pair.


A completely new concept for needle wash has been designed for Integrity. A separate built-in solvent pump provides wash solvents to the needle pair and a smart combination of air pressure and solvent streams ensures thorough cleaning of the needle pair, inside and outside, in seconds. And also provided – jet-stream drying of the needles before entering the next sample! Multiple solvents can be selected by the wash pump for maximum clean-up ensuring zero carryover for the stickiest samples. Because the wash pump is much faster than the syringe-dispenser used for the injection, needle rinsing is not only better, but also much faster.


Accurate Sample Temperature Control in our autosamplers, low and high!


Many biological samples require cooled storage during processing to avoid deterioration. Therefore, many autosamplers offer cooling, but very few autosamplers offer adequate cooling across the entire sample space. Some of our autosamplers not only offer cooling, but also offer sample temperature control from 4°C up to 40°C for the entire sample tray and sample processing space. Actual readout of tray temperature shows when the autosampler is ready to accept new samples. Actual tray temperature can also be linked to sample assay results to verify correct sample temperature afterwards. And, in addition, the cooling device has been designed to reduce condensation in the sample area to a minimum.

Elevated sample temperature improves sample solubility and thus helps to prevent precipitation of poorly soluble analytes and adsorption of analyte to vial walls.


Last-out-of vial sampling by using our Double Independent Concenctric Needles (DICN™).


Spark’s double needle technology is quite famous in the proteomics lab, where sample amounts can be scarce and require delicate handling. With UHPLC pressures the tendency to smaller sample amounts is continuous. Spark’s technology with double needles is even more applicable. A special analytical needle sits within the puncturing needle, ensuring small but robust injections are made.

Micro Injection™

Sub-microLiter sampling, vial bottom sensing and DICN™ injection technology


Using a micro syringe for accurate aspiration of small sample volumes, even nanoliter volumes of samples can be injected with high precision and accuracy. The microliter-pick-up mode reduces sample loss to zero and vial bottom detection (Integrity only) enables to position the sample needle at just a few tenths of a mm above the vial bottom to make sure you get all your precious sample injected reliably, independent of size variations in vials. Injection cycle time is not compromised by the reduced syringe volume because of the separate wash pump taking care of wash solvent delivery!


We deploy technologies to ensure the hardware performance meets UHPLC expectations.


A new injection routine and special valves make the autosamplers ready for injections into UHPLC systems up to 120 MPa (18,000 PSI). Ultra-fast valve switching reduces pressure shocks to a minimum for longer column life time. Combined with excellent micro injection capability, and including the entire range of sample care and sample prep features, our autosamplers add unsurpassed performance to your UHPLC system.


Hotcap™ allows individual heating of samples and reaction mixtures up to 80 degrees.


Cooling helps to maintain sample integrity, but when deliberate changes of samples are required prior to injection, heat is our best help. HotCap™ is a piece of capillary tubing that can be heated up to 100°C. When used as sample loop or other positions in the sampling line, samples or sample/reagent mixtures can be heated before injection. Typical applications include pre-column derivatization, protein denaturing to reduce protein-analyte binding, disruption of cells, etc. HotCap™ heats up in seconds, has actual temperature read-out and a hardwired temperature limiter for maximum safety.


HoMix™ technology is a combination of a homogenizer and reagent mixer.


This is a unique innovation for HPLC autosamplers. Three separate mini pumps can provide different reagents from external reservoirs to special self-cleaning overflow wells on the sample tray holder. Sample and reagent volumes are picked up and dispensed into destination vials using the sample needle and syringe dispenser. Destination vials are then picked up from the tray by HoMix™ and their contents mixed by a very efficient, tumbling-like movement.

After placing it back into the tray, the mixture is injected using any of the three available injection modes. Mixing variables such as tumbling speed and duration can be programmed. Compared to the syringe aspirate/dispense actions offered by other autosamplers, mixing is much better and faster! Typical applications of this unique feature are internal standard addition, dilution, pre-column derivatization, homogenizing etc. Even in-vial liquid-liquid micro extraction is feasible.


Pressure Assisted Sample Aspiration (PASA™) for a higher analytical performance level.


Our well known partial loop fill, full loop fill and microliter-pick-up modes are again available on all autosamplers.

A built-in air pump provides air via the piercing needle, enabling the PASA™ injection concept for bubble free aspiration and assisting needle wash for the needle.


Integrated Stream Switching Valves for online sample prep and more.


Our favorite way of sample prep is becoming more and more popular! Spark pioneered online sample prep (solid phase extraction, column switching) and introduced online sample prep as an integrated option on an autosampler over 20 years ago. Today, online sample prep using high pressure stream switching is considered the best approach to obtain high assay quality and maximum automation. In addition, online sample prep using valve switching provides a closed sample processing system – another plus for sample integrity.


Automated Internal Standard Addition for accurate Dried Blood Spot analysis.


Accurate automated internal standard addition using a loop injection method. A specified volume of internal standard is loaded in a loop using an integrated mini pump. The internal standard is then added to the sample during desorption of a blood spot using a high pressure dispenser (HPD™).


Our Intelligent Vision Camera locates and recognizes Dried Blood Spots.


Accurate spot positioning and sample traceability is vital for accuracy. Our camera has been designed so that it not only provides accurate positioning of DBS cards in the high pressure clamp for direct, flow-through desorption of bloodspots; but also offers sample barcode identification for 1D or 2D barcodes, full or partial spot desorption options and full image capture for sample information storage, tracking and traceability.

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