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Publication numberUS20020009393 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/181,642
Publication dateJan 24, 2002
Filing dateOct 29, 1998
Priority dateOct 31, 1997
Also published asUS6413475
Publication number09181642, 181642, US 2002/0009393 A1, US 2002/009393 A1, US 20020009393 A1, US 20020009393A1, US 2002009393 A1, US 2002009393A1, US-A1-20020009393, US-A1-2002009393, US2002/0009393A1, US2002/009393A1, US20020009393 A1, US20020009393A1, US2002009393 A1, US2002009393A1
InventorsMasato Ishizawa, Akira Inagaki, Ryuji Tao
Original AssigneeMasato Ishizawa, Akira Inagaki, Ryuji Tao
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function
US 20020009393 A1
Abstract
In order to surely and correctly detect the liquid level of the sample even if the sample cup (5) is not directly set on the sample disk (105), the cup (5) is mounted on the test tube (6) set on the sample disk (105) and moved to a sample pipetting position. A conductive material served as a liquid level detecting electrode is provided between the sample pipetting probe and said sample disk (105). The sample pipetting probe start to move down, and when tip of the sample pipetting probe contact with the liquid level, and change of an electrostatic capacitance between the conductive material and the sample pipetting probe is detected, the moving down motion of the sample pipetting probe is stopped.
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Claims(9)
What is claimed is:
1. An automatic analysis apparatus with a liquid level detection function comprising a pipetting device for pipetting liquid sample from a sample cup to a reaction container by using a pipetting probe served as one electrode for detecting liquid level of said liquid sample, a sample cup holding means served as other electrode for detecting said liquid level, an electrical detector for detecting a change of an electrostatic capacitance between said pipetting probe and said sample cup holding means, and a measurement means for measuring ingredient of said reaction container, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized by further comprising,
a conductive material arranged along a direction to which said pipetting probe moves down, said conductive material having the same potential with that of said other electrode.
2. An automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function as defined claim 1, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized in that,
said sample cup holding means is driven to transfer said sample cup to a sample aspiration location aspirated by said pipetting probe, and
said conductive material is arranged to be separated from said sample cup holding means and to be in neighborhood of said sample aspiration location
3. An automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function as defined claim 2, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized in that,
said conductive material has a pair of plate departments is arranged to be opposite keeping a gap through which said sample cup on said sample cup holding means is capable of passing.
4. An automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function as defined claim 1, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized in that,
said sample cup holding means and said conductive material are respectively contacted with ground electrically.
5. An automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function as defined claim 1, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized in that,
said conductive material has a hole through which said pipetting probe is capable of moving up and down and has a guard member to prevent any article from being close to said pipetting probe.
6. An automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function as defined claim 1, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized in that,
said conductive material is arranged in a region between a height location being lower than a height location of said probe bottom end when said pipetting probe moves to a horizontal direction and a height location being higher than an upper end of said sample cup holding means.
7. An automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function as defined claim 1, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized by further comprising,
a controller for controlling moving down operation of said pipetting probe according to said liquid level detecting signal output from said electric circuit based on said a change of an electrostatic capacitance between said pipetting probe and said conductive material.
8. An automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function as defined claim 1, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized in that,
said conductive material has a part extended in parallel to a direction, which said pipetting probe moves down.
9. An automatic analysis apparatus with liquid level detection function as defined claim 1, said automatic analysis apparatus characterized in that,
a region surrounding outer surface of said sample cup is constructed with an electrical conductor served as said one electrode.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    Present invention relates to an automatic analysis apparatus having a function for pipetting a liquid sample from one container to the other container by using a pipetting probe served as an electrode for detecting liquid level.
  • [0002]
    In a conventional automatic analysis apparatus, the liquid sample of the living bodies such as blood or urine is pippeted from a sample cup to a reaction container on reaction line, reagent is pipette from a reagent bottle to the reaction container corresponding to analysis items of measurement objects, and mixture of the sample and the reagent is measured by a measuring means such as a photometer.
  • [0003]
    In the pipetting operation, the tip of the pipetting probe is dipped in the sample liquid of the pippeting object, the deeper the tip of the pipetting probe is dipped, the better quantity of the sample liquid adhered to an outer wall of the probe increases, and the contamination becomes significant.
  • [0004]
    Then, in order to reduce the dipping depth of the pipetting probe as long as possible, a liquid level of the container is detected, and at a position where the tip of the probe reaches a little beneath the liquid level, the probe stops to move down, and the prove is controlled to inhale the predetermined amount of the sample liquid of.
  • [0005]
    A pipetting probe serves as an electrode for detecting liquid level, and a liquid container holding means served as the other electrode for detecting liquid level and the liquid level in the container is detected by a change of an electrostatic capacitance between the pipetting probe and the liquid container holding means, such examples as above are shown in Japanese Patent Laid-open No. 62-289769 (1987) bulletin and Japanese Patent publication No. 6-7112 bulletin (corresponding U.S. Pat. No. is 4,897,244).
  • [0006]
    In these prior art, the pipetting probe is connected to an electric liquid level detecting circuit, and the liquid container holding means is electrically connected to the ground.
  • [0007]
    Furthermore, relating to the pipetting probe having a metal inner tube and a metal outer tube, Japanese Patent Laid-open No. 7-43369 bulletin is disclosed, in which insulation resistance between the metal inner tube and the metal outer tube is kept in a good condition, thereby the electrostatic capacitance corresponding to the liquid level of the sample is surely detected.
  • [0008]
    Further relating to a pipetting nozzle served as one electrode to detect the liquid level of the sample, Japanese Patent Laid-open No. 8-258661 bulletin is disclosed.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    In the automatic analysis apparatus applied to the prior art stated above, the sample cup pipetted with the sample liquid corresponding to the pipetting object, is mounted on a sample disc as one embodiment of the container holding means.
  • [0010]
    When all of the sample cups are set to the sample disc, a detecting signal on the basis of the change of the electrostatic capacitance between the pipetting probe and the sample disc efficiently is a big value for the detection, and the liquid level detection error is very small.
  • [0011]
    On the other hand, several kinds of the sample cups having different size are used usually. In case of especially small sample cup, it may be set on the sample disc directly sometimes, and other containers or supporting holding tools are set on the container loading region of the sample disc, or the small sample cup may be mounted indirectly on the top of the other containers or the supporting holding tools.
  • [0012]
    When a small-sized sample cup that overall length thereof is short is set on the sample disc indirectly, the spatial distance between the sample liquid in the sample cup and the sample disc serving as the electrode for detecting liquid level becomes large, and it becomes impossible to obtain a sufficient detecting signal to recognize the liquid level with which the pipetting probe contacts, the liquid level detection is not executed surely.
  • [0013]
    An object of the present invention is to provide an automatic analysis apparatus which is capable to surely detect a liquid level of the sample liquid for the sample cup, even if the hight of the sample cup is different from the height location arranged for the sample cup holding means.
  • [0014]
    In the automatic analysis apparatus comprising a pipetting device for pipetting a sample liquid from a sample cup to a reaction container by using a pipetting probe served as an electrode for detecting a liquid level of the liquid sample, the sample cup holding means served as an other electrode for detecting the liquid level, an electric detecting element for detecting a change of an electrostatic capacitance between said pipetting probe and said sample cup holding means and a measurement means for measuring ingredient of the reaction container, the present invention is characterized by comprising a construction as that a conductive material is arranged along a direction to which a pipetting probe is disposed, and said conductive material has an isopotential to the other electrode.
  • [0015]
    In a desirable embodiment of the present invention, said sample cup holding means are driven so as to transfer said sample cup being held to an aspiration location by said pipetting probe, and said conductive material is arranged apart from said sample cup holding means and in neighborhood of said sample aspiration location.
  • [0016]
    This conductive material includes a pair of plate portions which are disposed opposing each other keeping a gap through which said sample cup on said sample cup holding means is capable to pass.
  • [0017]
    Said sample cup holding means and said conductive material are contacted to the ground electrically.
  • [0018]
    In a desirable embodiment of the present invention, it is provided a control part for controlling moving down operation of the pipetting probe according to the output of the liquid level detecting signal supplied from an electric circuit based on change of an electrostatic capacitance during the pipetting probe and the conductive material.
  • [0019]
    The conductive material is arranged in a region between a height location that is lower than a bottom end of the probe when the pipetting probe moves to a horizontal direction and a height location that is higher than the upper end of sample cup holding means.
  • [0020]
    This conductive material has a part extended in parallel to a direction to which the pipetting probe moves down.
  • [0021]
    Moreover the sample cup holding means has an electrical conduction body as other electrode which surrounds outer wall of the sample cup.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram, which shows a total construction of the automatic analysis apparatus applied the present invention.
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 2 is an explanatory view of a liquid level detection system in the analysis apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of a conductive material used in a pipetting location of the sample.
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 4 is an explanatory view of the liquid level detection operation when setting a sample cup directly.
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 5 is an explanatory view of the liquid level detection operation when setting a sample cup indirectly.
  • [0027]
    [0027]FIG. 6 is an explanaory view of the liquid level detection operation when not applying the present invention.
  • [0028]
    [0028]FIG. 7 is an explanaory view of the liquid level detection operation when applying the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0029]
    [0029]FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of the total construction of the automatic analysis apparatus in the present invention.
  • [0030]
    In FIG. 1, the reaction disc 109 is arranged so as to be intermittently rotatable on a water tank kept a constant temperature.
  • [0031]
    On the reaction disc 109, a lot of reaction containers 106 are arranged keeping a circle state, and rotation and stopping of the reaction disc 109 are performed every predetermined time, and a line of the reaction container is transferred the retroaction line top.
  • [0032]
    On a movable arm 2 worked in top and bottom direction and a horizontal direction by a driving department (not shown in the figure), a sample pipetting probe 105 to aspirate and eject the sample is installed.
  • [0033]
    The sample pipetting probe 105 pipetted the sample from the sample cup 101 to the reaction container 106 on the reaction disc 109 which is mounted on the sample disc 102 top as the sample cup holding means.
  • [0034]
    Referring to FIG. 2, the construction of a liquid level detection unit will be explained. In FIG. 2, an alternative signal output from an alternative oscillation circuit 8 is input into a liquid level detecting circuit 9.
  • [0035]
    As for the alternative signal, sine wave is reasonable, but a square wave or a triangle wave may be replaced.
  • [0036]
    The liquid level detecting circuit 9 has a detecting circuit 93 to detect a change of an electrostatic capacitance to produce between the sample disc 102 connected to the ground electrically and the sample pipetting probe 105.
  • [0037]
    The detecting circuit 93 for detecting the electrostatic capacitance change has a circuit, something already known such as a bridge circuit.
  • [0038]
    The liquid level detecting circuit 9 amplifies change of the detected electrostatic capacitance, and the alternative amplified signal is input into a rectifier circuit 10.
  • [0039]
    The input alternative signal is converted into a direct current signal in the rectifier circuit 10, and it is input into a comparator 11.
  • [0040]
    The comparator 11 compares a change of the input electrostatic capacitance signal with a value before being changed, thereby a detecting signal 12 showing presence of contacting of the pipetting probe 105 with a liquid level in a container, in other words, presence of liquid level detection is provided.
  • [0041]
    Pair of discharge elements 91 a and 91 b formed with an electroconductive material on a printed circuit board are disposed to face each other keeping a gap of around 0.1 mm.
  • [0042]
    The both discharge elements facing each other respectively has peaked tips inside thereof so as to concentrates static electricity on them and to be easy to discharge their electricity.
  • [0043]
    One discharge element 91 a of a pair of the discharge elements is contacted to the ground electrically.
  • [0044]
    The other discharge element 91 b is electrically connected with the pipetting probe 105 and is electrically connected with the detecting circuit 93 for detecting the electrostatic capacitance change too.
  • [0045]
    In accordance with this construction, the external noise signal caused by electrification of static electricity detected by the pipetting probe 105, is discharged electricity through a pair of the discharge element 91 a, 91 b to the arm, thereby transmission of the noise signal to the detecting circuit 93 of the electrostatic capacitance change is restrained.
  • [0046]
    The inductance 92 is mounted between the other discharge element 91 b and the electrostatic capacitance change detecting circuit 93 furthermore.
  • [0047]
    This inductance 92 shows a high impedance characteristic corresponding to high frequency. Therefore, the discharging to the ground of the noise signal is promoted.
  • [0048]
    Output signal of the detecting circuit 93 for the electrostatic capacitance change goes through an operational amplifier 94.
  • [0049]
    An amplification factor of the operational amplifier 94 is different corresponding to a smallest detection capacity of the device, however it is several 10-several 100 times generally.
  • [0050]
    The output alternative signal of operational amplifier 94 is converted to a direct current signal by a rectifier circuit 10.
  • [0051]
    Because, in an example of FIG. 2, the plus and minus both way output of the operational amplifier 94 is clamped by Zener diode 95, sudden signal such as the static electricity noise or other disturbance noise, that is, a uselessness signal is not transmitted to the rectifier circuit 10, and it is not integrated.
  • [0052]
    Accordingly, a bad affection by the external noise is extremely small.
  • [0053]
    In the analysis apparatus shown in FIG. 1, the sample pipetting probe 105 made by a metal which is the one electrode for liquid level detection is connected to the liquid level detecting circuit 9, and is electrically contacted with the sample disc 102 made by a metal being the other electrode for the liquid level detection.
  • [0054]
    However being connected reversibly, that is, in the case that the sample disc is connected to the liquid level detecting circuit, and is contacted with the pipetting probe, a change of the electrostatic capacitance may be detected too.
  • [0055]
    In the example shown in FIG. 1, whole body of the sample disc 102 is constituted with an electroconductivity matter, however, instead of the above, most of the sample disc 102 may be constituted with a non-electroconductivity matter as a plastic, and the electroconductivity matter to work as the electrode for the liquid level detection may be provided in the region which directly contacts to a sample cup or extremely approaches it, that is, only region surrounding outer wall of the sample cup.
  • [0056]
    In any event, a holding location of the each container in the sample disc 102, is formed as an electrode for detecting the liquid level having a shape to surround the outer wall of the container. Construction of the automatic analysis apparatusshown in FIG. 1 will be explained furthermore.
  • [0057]
    On a reagent disc 125, which is freely rotatable, a bottle 112 of the reagent is arranged corresponding to plural analysis items as analysis objects.
  • [0058]
    A reagent pipetting probe 110 installed on the movable arm pipettes with the predetermined amount of the reagent from the reagent bottle 112 to a reaction container 106.
  • [0059]
    The sample pipetting probe 105 executes an aspiration behavior of the sample and a discharge behavior according to the operation of a sample pump 107 for the sample.
  • [0060]
    Reagent pipetting probe 110 executes an aspiration behavior of the reagent and a discharge behavior with an operation of the syringe pump 111 for the reagent.
  • [0061]
    The analysis item that should be analyzed for the each sample is input from a keyboard 121 or an input unit as a display of CRT 118.
  • [0062]
    A computer 103 controls an operation of the each unit in this automatic analysis apparatus. The sample cup 101 is transferred to a sample aspiration location according to an intermittent rotation of the sample disc 102, the sample pipetting probe 105 is descended in the sample cup being stopped.
  • [0063]
    When the tip of the pipetting probe 105 contacts with the liquid level of the sample according to a drop operation thereof, a detecting signal is output from the liquid level detecting circuit 9, thereby the computer 103 controls the drop operation of the drive department of the movable arm 2 to stop.
  • [0064]
    Subsequently after having aspirated the predetermined amount of the sample in the pipetting probe 105, the pipetting probe 105 rises to a top dead center, the mobile arm 2 having the pipetting probe 105 is turned in a horizontal plane, and the sample pipetting probe 105 moves down in a location of the reaction container 106 on the reaction disc 109 and discharges the sample stored in the reaction container 106.
  • [0065]
    When the reaction container 106 discharged the sample moves to a position where the reagent should be added, the reagent corresponding to the analysis item is added from the reagent pipetting probe 110.
  • [0066]
    Corresponding to the pipefitting of the sample and the reagent, the liquid level of the sample in the sample cup 101 and the reagent in reagent bottle 112 is detected.
  • [0067]
    Mixture in the reaction container to which the sample and the reagent are added, is stirred by a stirring device 113.
  • [0068]
    Plural reaction containers cross a light beam from a light source 114 during passage of a line of the reaction container, and an absorbance of the each mixture is measured by a photometer 115 as a measurement means.
  • [0069]
    The absorbance signal goes by way of an analog-to-digital converter 116 and through interface 104, and is transmitted to the computer 103, and the concentration of the analysis item is calculated.
  • [0070]
    Analysis result prints are output in a printer 117 through the interface 104, or is displayed on the CRT118, and are stored in the hard disk 122 as a memory device.
  • [0071]
    The reaction container 106 that photometry thereby has finished is washed in a location of the washing mechanism 119.
  • [0072]
    A pump 120 for washing supplies washing liquid to the reaction container and the disposed garbage is drained from the reaction container.
  • [0073]
    According to the example of FIG. 1, the container holding department is formed on three lines of concentric circles of the sample disc 102 so as to set three lines of the sample cups, sample aspiration location by the sample pipetting probe 105 is established on each line.
  • [0074]
    A conductive material shown in FIG. 3 that is arranged so as to correspond to that sample aspiration location.
  • [0075]
    This conductive material is arranged in a height region which is lower than a probe bottom end of a height location before the sample pipetting probe starts to move down in the sample aspiration location, or a height location just before the sample pipetting probe moves to a horizontal direction.
  • [0076]
    Besides, this conductive material is arranged on the height region higher than the upper end of the sample disc 102 serving as one of the electrodes for the liquid level detection.
  • [0077]
    The conductive material 14 shown in FIG. 3, is constituted with a material of metal, electroconductivity plastic or non-electroconductivity plastic treated by a metal plating, and is kept to be an isopotential with the sample disc 102.
  • [0078]
    That is, the conductive material 14 is contacted with the ground when the sample disc is electrically contacted with the ground.
  • [0079]
    If the sample disc is a type connected with the liquid level detecting circuit 9 electrically, the conductive material 14 is connected to the liquid level detecting circuit 9 electrically, too.
  • [0080]
    This conductive material 14 is arranged along a direction to which the sample pipetting probe 105 move down and up vertically in the sample aspiration location.
  • [0081]
    The conductive material 14 in FIG. 3 has a pair of twin plate departments 14 a and 14 b being arranged to face each other, and is installed and held by a guard department 13 that is a part for installation.
  • [0082]
    A through hole 13 a that the sample pipetting probe 105 may moves freely in and out to a vertical direction is formed on the guard department 13 and the conductive material 14 The guard department 13 is installed to a base of the analysis apparatus.
  • [0083]
    Plate departments 14 a and 14 b are faces each other in parallel, and the gap of them is a distance through which the sample cup 101 on the sample disc 102 may pass and it is a distance that may have a function as an electrode for the liquid level detection.
  • [0084]
    In a circumstance explained in an example of FIG. 3, both plates department 14 a, 14 b are arranged to be parallel, however when being arranged upwards of the sample disc as shown in FIG. 1, it becomes to be a shape curved along a transfer locus of the sample cup 101 on the each line
  • [0085]
    The plate departments 14 a, 14 b are extended in a vertical direction so that they are paralleled to the moving up and down direction of the sample pipetting probe 105.
  • [0086]
    The overall length of the top and bottom direction of plate departments 14 a,14 b, is about half of the overall distance that the sample pipetting probe 105 is capable to move down, and it is changed depending on a size of a used sample cup.
  • [0087]
    The guard department 13 that is a component for installation may be constituted with the plastic or the metal.
  • [0088]
    This guard department 13 is used to prevent a foreign article from approaching the probe during an operation of the sample pipetting probe 105, and especially, a hand of the operator prevents to contact with the pipetting probe.
  • [0089]
    [0089]FIG. 4 shows a case which a small-sized sample cup 5 is set in the sample disc 102, and FIG. 5 shows a case which the sample cup 5 is set in the sample disc 102 intermittently through an auxiliary holding tool.
  • [0090]
    In an example of FIG. 5, a test tube 6 of 100 mm in overall length is used as the auxiliary holding tool.
  • [0091]
    When being set as shown in FIG. 5, as the liquid level of the sample in the sample cup 7 leaves from the sample disc 102 physically, it becomes difficult to detect a change of the electrostatic capacitance between the sample disc 102 as an electrode for the liquid level detection and the sample pipetting probe 105.
  • [0092]
    The conductive material 14 contacted electrically so as to be an isopotential with the sample disc 102 is provided corresponding to the sample aspiration location.
  • [0093]
    This conductive material 14 is arranged to leave from the sample disc 102 and from the sample pipetting probe 105 too.
  • [0094]
    The conductive material 14 has a function as an electrode for detecting liquid level, which is similar to the sample disc 102.
  • [0095]
    In a state that a sample cup is set as shown in FIG. 4, when the liquid level of the sample 7 in the sample cup 5 is detected without applying the present invention, that is, when the conductive material 14 is not used, the electrostatic capacitance value between the sample pipetting probe 105 and the sample disc 102 changes as shown by a broken line of the FIG. 6.
  • [0096]
    In FIGS. 4 to 7, the height location A of the sample pipetting probe 105 is the height of the probe bottom end when the pipetting probe is in the greatest rise location (top dead center).
  • [0097]
    When the sample pipetting probe 105 moves to the reaction container 106 horizontally, it starts to move keeping a state of the height location A.
  • [0098]
    In the height location B, the bottom end of the pipetting probe 105 is in a hight corresponding to the guard department 13. The height location C is in a height of a liquid level of the sample in a state shown in FIG. 5.
  • [0099]
    The height location D is in a height of a liquid level of the sample in a state shown in FIG. 4.
  • [0100]
    Moreover, in FIGS. 6 and 7, the horizontal scale shows a dropping distance of the pipetting probe, and vertical scale shows the electrostatic capacitance value Cx (pico farad).
  • [0101]
    According to the droping distance from the greatest rise location of the sample pipetting probe 105, a floating capacitance of the guard department 13 and the sample disc 102 are added to the pipetting probe, and the electrostatic capacitance value added to the pipetting probe 105 changes as C1, C2, C4 on a broken line shown in FIG. 6.
  • [0102]
    The electrostatic capacitance value suddenly changes when it drops to the liquid level height location D.
  • [0103]
    On the contrary, when the sample cup 5 is set as shown in FIG. 5, and the conductive material 14 in the present invention is not used, the electrostatic capacitance value changes as C1, C2, C5 on a solid line shown in FIG. 6.
  • [0104]
    In other words, even if the bottom end of the sample pipetting probe 105 contacts with the liquid level of the sample 7 (it comes into contact with the height location C), the change of the electrostatic capacitance value is small.
  • [0105]
    This is because the sample cup 5 is physically separated from the sample disc 102 that is one of the electrodes used for detecting the liquid level, and it becomes difficult to detect the change, because the change of the electrostatic capacitance is small.
  • [0106]
    Furthermore, it is difficult to set up a threshold for the liquid level detection because a difference y of the electrostatic capacitance value of c4 and c5 is big.
  • [0107]
    Referring to FIGS. 4, 5 and 7, liquid level detection operation applied the present invention will be explained in the next.
  • [0108]
    At first, in a state setting the sample cup 5 as shown in FIG. 4, the conductive material 14 does not participate in the liquid level detection, and the sample disc 102 that is one electrode participates in the liquid level detection.
  • [0109]
    When the sample pipetting probe 105 moves down from the greatest height location A, the electrostatic capacitance value changes as shown by a broken line of FIG. 7, and when the tip of the probe contacts with the liquid level of the sample at the height location D, it becomes the electrostatic capacitance value C4.
  • [0110]
    Such a change is almost equal to the case shown by the broken line of FIG. 6.
  • [0111]
    According to the output of the liquid level detecting signal 12, the computer 103 that is a control part controls the drive department so as to stop the moving down of the movable arm 2.
  • [0112]
    In a setting state of the sample cup 5 as shown in FIG. 5 next, the sample disc 102 does not participate in the liquid level detection substantially, and the change of the electrostatic capacitance between the conductive material 14 that is one electrode for detecting the liquid level and the sample pipetting probe 105 is detected by the liquid level detecting circuit 9.
  • [0113]
    When the sample pipetting probe 105 gradually moves down from the greatest height location A, the electrostatic capacitance value changes as C1, C2, C3 on a solid line shown in FIG. 7.
  • [0114]
    When the tip of the sample pipetting probe 105 contacts with the liquid level of the sample 7 in the sample cup 5 mounted on the test tube 6, the electrostatic capacitance value suddenly changes to become C3 at the height location C.
  • [0115]
    This electrostatic capacitance value C3 is almost the same as the value C4 provided with the setting state shown in FIG. 4, and the threshold setting for the liquid level detection is easy.
  • [0116]
    The liquid level detecting signal 12 is output with the change of such the electrostatic capacitance, the computer 103 controls it so that moving down operation of the movable arm 2 stops.
  • [0117]
    Subsequently predetermined amount of the sample is aspirated in the sample pipetting probe 105.
  • [0118]
    When the sample cup 5 is indirectly set to the sample disc by using the auxiliary holding tool such as the test tube 6, the setting height of the sample cup 5 changes according to size of the auxiliary holding tool.
  • [0119]
    Moreover, the liquid level height of the sample 7 changes by repeating the pipette, too.
  • [0120]
    The conductive material 14 is arranged so as to be extended along moving down direction of the pipetting probe, it is constituted to almost exist along overall the length of the sample cup 5, and even if the liquid level height changes, the liquid level may be detected surely.
  • [0121]
    According to the present invention, even if holding heights of sampling containers are different each other, it becomes possible to detect the electrostatic capacitance change surely in the case when the pipetting probe contacts with the sample liquid level, the liquid level detection may be performed in high accuracy.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US9575085Jan 24, 2014Feb 21, 2017Hitachi High-Technologies CorporationAutomatic analysis device
US20120222773 *Feb 29, 2012Sep 6, 2012Takashi YamatoAnalyzer and position confirming method
CN103604484A *Oct 29, 2013Feb 26, 2014北京利德曼生化股份有限公司Liquid level detection device for full-automatic biochemical analyzer reaction disc
CN104597269A *Oct 21, 2014May 6, 2015希森美康株式会社A sample container taking-out device and a sample processing system
DE102011118612A1 *Nov 16, 2011May 16, 2013Euroimmun Medizinische Labordiagnostika AgPipetting device for use with laboratory machines, has switching unit which switches the connection and disconnection states of tip portions
DE102011118612B4 *Nov 16, 2011Aug 14, 2013Euroimmun Medizinische Labordiagnostika AgVorrichtung zur Steuerung einer Pipettiervorrichtung
Classifications
U.S. Classification422/64, 422/63, 436/49, 73/864.11, 73/864.24, 436/180, 324/663, 436/54, 422/562
International ClassificationG01N35/10, G01F23/26
Cooperative ClassificationG01F23/26, Y10T436/2575, Y10T436/114998, G01N2035/1025, Y10T436/119163, G01N35/1009
European ClassificationG01F23/26, G01N35/10C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 2, 1998ASAssignment
Owner name: HITACHI, LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ISHIZAWA, MASATO;INAGAKI, AKIRA;TAO, RYUKI;REEL/FRAME:009612/0225
Effective date: 19981002
Dec 30, 2005FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Dec 21, 2009FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Dec 4, 2013FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12