Smart sample preparation

Sample preparation continues to be the most time-consuming part of an analytical workflow. Tecan’s range of smart consumables, coupled with its automation expertise, can help improve the throughput and quality of your sample preparation workflow.

Tab 01 / Overview

Resolvex offers smart sample preparation solutions to meet your workflow needs!

Resolvex smart consumables and automated positive pressure solutions

Tecan offers a broad range of high quality smart consumables and industry-leading positive pressure automated solutions to reduce the time spent on sample preparation.

  • Positive pressure sample preparation for robust and consistent results
  • Programmable positive pressure profiles
  • Automated solvent dispensing to reduce sample preparation time
  • Intuitive programming for easy access to methods and method development
  • Unique Narrow Bore Extraction™ (NBE™) Column design with air gap technology for on-column digestions reduces the need for sample transfers
  • High efficiency filters
  • Microparticulate sorbents to increase extraction efficiency
  • Unique silica and polymeric resin chemistries
  • Unique packing technology ensures the quality and reproducibility of smart consumables

Tab 02 / Smart Consumables

Cerex® and Narrow Bore Extraction (NBE) smart consumables

Solid phase extraction consumables

Tecan's suite of microparticulate solid phase extraction (SPE) consumables uses microparticulate sorbents with optimized small flow paths, to ensure greater contact with the analyte molecules. This enables better clean-up of the sample matrix, leading to cleaner sample extracts.

Tecan also offers a variety of sorbent chemistries, from state-of-the-art polymer technologies to unique target resins for more complex workflows.

Why microparticulate polymeric materials?

Capture efficiency refers to the ability of an SPE device to effectively retain or ‘trap’ desired analytes from the sample. SPE products that use large particle sorbents may exhibit significant analyte breakthrough during sample application, regardless of the chemical affinity of the sorbent for the analyte species. This is caused by the relatively large flow paths between the sorbent particles, which allow analytes to bypass contact with the sorbent and avoid retention (Figure 1).

In contrast, Cerex microparticulate sorbents have much smaller flow paths, ensuring contact with the analyte molecules passing through the sorbent bed.

Figure 1: 40-micron path

Figure 2: 10-micron path

Microparticulate polymeric materials allow for fast and efficient binding of analytes, resulting in smaller sorbent bed sizes

The difference between using 8 μm sorbent and conventional 40 μm sorbents of surface-matched chemistries was demonstrated by performing a loading experiment in an online cartridge format, measuring the breakthrough of a UV-absorbing analyte from each cartridge using a UV detector (Figure 3).

  1. Initially, the cartridge is bypassed; the detector signal reflects the level of analyte in the loading solvent.
  2. When the cartridge is placed into the sample stream, the absorbance initially drops and then recovers as analyte breakthrough occurs.
  3. The 8 µm cartridge captures roughly four times the analyte quantity compared to the 40 μm cartridge before breakthrough occurs, reaching total saturation immediately afterwards, as shown by the rapid recovery of the detector signal to initial conditions.
  4. In contrast, the 40 μm cartridge never reaches saturation, even after a significant period of time.

Figure 3: Loading experiment

Figure: Loading experiment

Loading time: time required to bind analyte to column material

Microparticulate sorbents

Figure 1: 40-micron path

Most competitors

  • Large flow paths
  • Reduced sorbent contact
  • Analyte breakthrough possible

Figure 2: 10-micron path

Tecan SP

  • Much shorter flow paths
  • Increased sorbent contact
  • Improved loading
  • No breakthrough – robust, efficient and fast!


The Van Deemter equation applies to chromatographic separations

To obtain high resolution, increase the number of HETP (Height Equivalent to a Theoretical Plate) by decreasing the particle size of the sorbents as shown here.

Microparticulate polymeric material provides smaller elution volume

The high capture efficiency of microparticle sorbents allows much smaller bed sizes to be used in Cerex columns compared to conventional sorbents; a 20 mg Cerex column typically exhibits the same effective capacity as a 100 mg, 40 μm conventional SPE product.

The use of much smaller sorbent beds allows for the use of smaller analyte elution volumes too, as demonstrated in Figure 4.

Figure 4:
Efficient elution with microparticulate sorbents

Efficient Elution with Micro-Sorbents

Curtesy of Spark Holland

Cerex columns
patented and proven technology

Narrow Bore Extraction (NBE) technology offers higher performance than standard SPE

  Monodispersed particle size for maximum efficiency
  Less elution volume required
  Decoupled upper frit design retains maximum filtration capacity
  Air gap controls liquid flow for incubation workflows

NBE – next generation SPE

What is NBE good for?

  • Delivers fundamental redesign of SPE workflows with substantial improvements
  • Novel ‘Pocket Seal’ prevents sample flow until positive pressure is applied, allowing extended incubation steps on column and automation
  • Narrower particle size distribution improves extraction efficiency
  • Hot spot contamination eliminated
  • 5x smaller elution volumes allows injection into the MS instrument without concentration – just elute and shoot
  • Increased sensitivity and reproducibility allow use of less sensitive LC-MS equipment, reducing costs
  • Customers can reduce sample size, resulting in cost savings and simplification of the overall workflow

NBE and Controlled Flow Plate (CFP) condense SPE workflows



Upper bed provides a barrier to liquid flow and filtration during pressure processing steps:

  • Upper chamber can be used as a reaction vessel
  • Liquid is retained until 15 psi of positive pressure is applied


  1. Air lock between the solid barriers prevents the flow of liquid from the upper chamber
  2. Monodisperse microparticulate bed with selected chemistry
  3. Proprietary ‘Inactive Chemistry Bed’ minimizes interaction of target analytes

NBE columns allow consolidation of workflow steps

NBE microparticulate columns deliver faster flow rates, lower elution volumes and reduced solvent consumption compared to classical SPE and supported liquid extraction (SLE).

  • New dual chamber design for high SPE performance
  • Microparticulate sorbent for high efficiency
  • Integration of pre-SPE steps in the reaction vessel
  • Filter for matrix clean-up
  • Air lock prevents dripping
  • Choice of sorbents for SPE or filtration

Tab 03 / Positive Pressure Processors

Resolvex Positive Pressure Processors

Compact standalone benchtop units

Tecan offers compact standalone benchtop units offering both manual and automated processing solutions for time-consuming sample preparation workflows.

The gas-based positive pressure processor provides reproducibility, uniformity and precise processing power during sample preparation.

Automated processing saves time by offering users programmable pressure control and solvent dispensing.

Show more

Positive Pressure Control with flow restrictors


Figure A.

Initial state. The manifold pressure builds to controller pressure that has been set. The effect of the restrictors is minimal in limiting flow from the manifold to the column reservoir.

Reservoirs start at atmospheric pressure.



Figure B.

Shortly after the initial state, the pressure builds in the column reservoir due to the fluid being held up by the flow characteristics of the column sorbent bed.

Restriction still has minimal effect.

Eventually the pressure builds enough to overcome the fluid flow resistance and fluid begins to pass through the sorbent bed.


Figure C.

Depending on the flow characteristics of the column’s sorbent bed, pressure in the column reservoir stabilizes.



Figure D.

The effect of the restrictor is maximized when fluid passes through one – or more – columns completely, and there is minimal pressure drop across the column bed.

The restrictor becomes the primary flow inhibitor of the gas as it passes through the column to the atmosphere.

Inhibiting the flow with the restrictors at this time is helpful in two ways: (1) the amount of gas used is minimized compared to a system with no inhibitors; (2) the pressure remains high in the columns containing liquid compared to empty or dry columns.


  • Analyte clean-up and enrichment
  • Life science research – protein desalting/digest clean-up, etc.


  • Food safety testing
  • Environmental monitoring


Resolvex M10 in operation

The Resolvex M10 is a compact, positive pressure benchtop system for manual solid phase extraction (SPE) sample preparation.

The system requires minimal training before use and can easily integrate into any laboratory workflow. It provides a processing solution for 96-well plates, and 1, 3 or 6 ml SPE cartridges.

Resolvex A100 in operation

The Resolvex A100 is a compact, semi-automated benchtop positive pressure system designed to implement various methods simultaneously at the touch of a button.

The intuitive touchscreen ensures easy operation and allows for seamless integration into your laboratory workflow. It provides a processing solution for 96-well plates, and 1, 3 or 6 ml SPE cartridges.

Resolvex A200 in operation

The Resolvex A200 is an industry-leading, compact standalone system for automated positive pressure processing. It combines programmable dispensing and pressure profiles, plate detection, and safety features, and requires minimal human intervention.

In addition to the compact benchtop version, the Resolvex A200 can also be integrated into Tecan's industry-leading liquid handling platforms, providing a seamless workflow for high throughput applications.

Tab 04 / Literature

Application Notes

Tab 05 / Shop

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Column Cooler 250 Cera


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Head Replacement Needle Straight 1/pk


Instrument Resolvex A100 48


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