Plate Handling

You own the plates and the blocks that are made in C3. We take responsibility for these while they are being imaged and for a period of time afterwards, however our storage space is finite!

We use the SD-2 plates (commonly called the “MRC plates”) for both crystal screening and optimisation at C3, and the plates are referenced by an 8-digit barcode.  The plates are sealed with UV transparent, pressure sensitive tape.  The plates can have one or two samples in them.  If there is only one sample in the plate, it will be found in the upper sample subwell, and the barcode of the plate will start with the prefix “MA”.  If the plate contains two samples, the barcode will start with the prefix “MC”.  If there is the digit ‘1’ in the third position of the barcode the plate was set up on one of the Mosquito dispensing robots.

Images from your plates may be viewed online using See3 (more information on using See3 available here). Plates are imaged 13 times over two months at either 8ºC or 20ºC. On completion the plates are stored for up to six months.  Crystallisation experiments set up in high-density plates like these will dry out eventually – we estimate the lifetime of experiments in these plates to be a year or less. Do not assume that we will hold your old plates indefinitely, we generally have a good throw-out every 6 months or so.

A typical plate from C3 – 8 digit alphanumeric barcode.

Collecting plates: Your plates may be collected from C3 at any point (even during the imaging schedule). In order for us to efficiently hand off plates, we have a Plate Request function on the booking software, this sends a request to all staff at C3, we should have your plates ready when you arrive. Please be aware that reception is only open from 8:45am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, outside these hours you may not be bale to get your plates (please email if you need to collect outside these hours). The plates must be signed out by a C3 staff member, and once they have been taken from the C3 facility they will not be re-introduced.  If you want to just look at your plates under a microscope and then return them to the incubator, just book the microscope, and use the online form to tell us which plates you would like us to take out of the incubator for you.

The plate request interface (login required)