Bench space in most laboratories is scarce, owing to the abundance of bulky analytical instruments, including spectrophotometers, microplate readers, and fluorometers, which can perform overlapping functions. To avoid this overlap, scientists should use a microplate reader that measures absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence all in one instrument. 

          A photo of the VANTAstar® ejecting a microplate containing samples.
The VANTAstar® is a compact, upgradable microplate reader that can measure absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence.

Nevertheless, microplate readers are not without their faults. Most instruments acquire measurements at the well's center point.1 This enables quick assessment of the entire microplate, which is important for time-course analyses. However, these instruments are inadequate for measuring heterogeneous samples or wells with nonhomogenous distributions. This highlights the need for microplate readers that scan the entire well and acquire multiple measurements.1 

Different microplate readers vary in their capabilities and features, which makes choosing the correct instrument challenging. Although scientists save money by buying microplate readers with fewer features, they may need to upgrade or buy a new instrument before the end of its life span if it no longer meets their needs. 

Researchers can avoid these challenges by using a modular system such as the VANTAstar® microplate reader. In addition to its multimodal capabilities, well-scanning features, and ease of use, researchers can add additional components to the instrument, including environmental controls, reagent injectors, and shaking capabilities. Despite its small footprint, this instrument is compatible with microplate formats up to 384 wells, saving researchers time, space, and money. Compact microplate readers like this one provide scientists with the flexibility they need to answer new questions. 


  1. Pryor SW, et al. BioTechniques. 2007;42(2):168-172.