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Title:
MAGNETIC PARTICLE COLLECTION APPARATUS, SYSTEMS, AND METHODS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/029991
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A magnetic particle collection apparatus including a coil, a guide extending from the coil, the guide including a first terminal end, a magnet slidably received in the guide, the magnet including a magnetic pickup end, wherein energizing the coil generates a magnetic field that acts on the magnet and moves the magnetic pickup end between a first position at the first terminal end and a second position away from the first terminal end. Magnetic particle collection systems and methods are also disclosed.

Inventors:
WOLDEMARIAM MELAKU (US)
CHIA PHILIP (US)
Application Number:
US2020/041358
Publication Date:
February 18, 2021
Filing Date:
July 09, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SIEMENS HEALTHCARE DIAGNOSTICS INC (US)
International Classes:
B03C1/033; B03C1/14; B03C1/28
Domestic Patent References:
WO2018060137A12018-04-05
Foreign References:
US20060266130A12006-11-30
US20060118494A12006-06-08
US6409925B12002-06-25
US20110205835A12011-08-25
US20130001242A12013-01-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
YUAN, Chien et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A magnetic particle collection apparatus 102, comprising: a coil; a guide extending from the coil, the guide including a first terminal end; and a magnet slidably received in the guide, the magnet including a magnetic pickup end, wherein energizing the coil produces a magnetic field that acts on the magnet and moves the magnetic pickup end between a first position at the first terminal end and a second position away from the first terminal end.

2. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, wherein the guide is received at least partially through the coil.

3. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, wherein the guide is rotatable.

4. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 3, wherein the guide is supported by a bearing.

5. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 4, wherein the bearing is made of nonmagnetic materials.

6. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, comprising a motor 116 configured to rotate the guide.

7. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 6, comprising a coupling connecting a second terminal end of the guide to a shaft of the motor.

8. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a robot coupled to, and configured to move, a housing of the magnetic particle collection apparatus.

9. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 8, wherein the robot is configured to move the housing in one or more directions.

10. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 9, wherein the one or more directions include one or more of X,

Y, or Z.

11. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, wherein the coil comprises between 1,500 and 2,000 windings.

12. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first terminal end of the guide comprises an opening.

13. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, wherein the magnet comprises a plurality of individual magnets.

14. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 13, wherein the plurality of individual magnets comprises an assembly of cylindrical magnets and a tapered end magnet.

15. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, wherein the magnet comprises a tapered end magnet.

16. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 15, wherein the tapered end magnet, when the magnet is in the first position, at least partially extends through an opening of the first terminal end of the guide.

17. The magnetic particle collection apparatus of claim 1, wherein the guide is receivable into a tip.

18. A method of magnetic particle collection, comprising: providing a magnetic particle collection apparatus comprising a coil, a guide extending from the coil, the guide including a first terminal end, and a magnet slidably received in the guide and including a magnetic pickup end; and energizing the coil to move the magnetic pickup end of the magnet between a first position at the first terminal end and a second position away from the first terminal end.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising rotating the guide.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the rotating of the guide comprises a rotational frequency of greater than or equal to 5,000 RPM .

21. The method of claim 18, wherein the guide is lowered at least partially into a well.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the well contains one or more of a reagent, magnetic particles, wash liquid, lysis liquid, elution liquid, and a specimen.

23. The method of claim 21, wherein the magnet, when in the first position at the first terminal end, attracts magnetic particles to the first terminal end from within the well.

24. The method of claim 21, wherein the magnet, when moved towards the second position away from the first terminal end, releases magnetic particles from the first terminal end.

25. A magnetic particle collection system, comprising: a magnetic particle collection apparatus comprising a coil, a guide extending from the coil, the guide including a first terminal end, and a magnet including a magnetic pickup end slidably received in the guide; a reaction container comprising a well containing at least one liquid and magnetic particles; a robot configured to lower the guide into the well; and wherein the coil, when energized, is configured to move the magnetic pickup end of the magnet between a first position at the first terminal end and a second position away from the first terminal end, and wherein the first terminal end is configured to attract the magnetic particles when the magnetic pickup end is in the first position and wherein the first terminal end is configured to release the magnetic particles when the magnetic pickup end is the second position.

Description:
MAGNETIC PARTICLE COLLECTION APPARATUS , SYSTEMS , AND METHODS

FIELD

[001] The present disclosure relates to methods, systems, and apparatus adapted to collect magnetic particles, such as used in diagnostic processes.

BACKGROUND

[002] In automated analytical testing (immunoassay instruments, clinical chemistry analyzers, in vitro analyzers, and the like - hereinafter each is referred to as an "analyzer" or "analyzers"), various liquids may be aspirated from one location and dispensed to another, such as to a reaction vessel (e.g., a cuvette or micro-well plate). In certain analyzers used to test for the presence of an analyte or another constituent in a biological fluid sample (otherwise referred to as "specimen"), it may be desirable to utilize one or more moveable pipette assemblies coupled to one or more aspiration/dispense systems to aspirate and then dispense the reagent and specimen.

[003] A fairly large number of reagents may be contained in individual wells of reagent cartridges, referred to herein as "reagent packs." The reagent packs may be supported on a carousel or other like moveable member. The pipette assembly can include a pipette body and a detachable pipette tip coupled to the pipette body. The detachable pipette tip may be a molded plastic pipette tip that is coupled to the pipette and then discarded after one or more aspiration/dispense sequences via separation from the pipette body and being dropped into a disposal canister.

[004] The pipette assembly can include a robot coupled thereto for moving the pipette assembly between the specimen or reagent pack and a reaction vessel within the analyzer. The robot may be able to move the pipette (assembly of the pipette body and pipette tip) in an X, Y, X and Y, a sweeping (theta) motion, and/or, an r and theta motion. Further, the robot may be able to raise and lower the pipette so as to be able to insert and retract the pipette into and from the reagent pack or specimen container.

[005] The reagent packs can contain one or more volumes of process materials (e.g., reagent(s), magnetic particles (or beads), one or more wash liquids, a lysis liquid, an elution liquid, and the like) and can have a cover (e.g., a foil cover) over a top thereof in some cases. When accessing the reagent pack with the pipette, the pipette tip can act as a lance to pierce the cover.

[006] In some embodiments, there may also be a stirring mechanism and/or a magnetic particle removal mechanism. Magnetic particle removal mechanisms include a magnet that is inserted into the one or more of the wells containing magnetic particles to collect the particles at certain stages or one or more magnets positioned outside of the one or more wells to draw the magnetic particles to a side of the well at certain times.

SUMMARY

[007] According to a first aspect, a magnetic particle collection apparatus is provided. The magnetic particle collection apparatus includes a coil; a guide extending from the coil, the guide including a first terminal end; and a magnet slidably received in the guide, the magnet including a magnetic pickup end, wherein energizing the coil produces a magnetic field that acts on the magnet and moves the magnetic pickup end between a first position at the first terminal end and a second position away from the first terminal end.

[008] According to a system aspect, a magnetic particle collection system is provided. The magnetic particle collection system includes a magnetic particle collection apparatus comprising a coil, a guide extending from the coil, the guide including a first terminal end, and a magnet including a magnetic pickup end slidably received in the guide; a reaction container comprising a well containing at least one liquid and magnetic particles; a robot configured to lower the guide into the well; and wherein the coil, when energized, is configured to move the magnetic pickup end of the magnet between a first position at the first terminal end and a second position away from the first terminal end, and wherein the first terminal end is configured to attract the magnetic particles when the magnetic pickup end is in the first position and wherein the first terminal end is configured to release the magnetic particles when the magnetic pickup end is the second position.

[ 009 ] In a method aspect, a method of magnetic particle collection is provided. The method includes providing a magnetic particle collection apparatus comprising a coil, a guide extending from the coil, the guide including a first terminal end, and a magnet slidably received in the guide and including a magnetic pickup end; and energizing the coil to move the magnetic pickup end of the magnet between a first position at the first terminal end and a second position away from the first terminal end.

[ 0010 ] Still other aspects, features, and advantages of the present disclosure may be readily apparent from the following description by illustrating a number of example embodiments and implementations. The present disclosure may also be capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details may be modified in various respects, all without departing from the scope thereof. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive. The disclosure is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the disclosure. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] The drawings, described below, are for illustrative purposes only and are not necessarily drawn to scale. The drawings are not intended to limit the scope of the disclosure in any way.

[0012] FIG. 1A illustrates a front partially cross-sectioned view of a magnetic particle collection system including a magnetic particle collection apparatus shown in an extended configuration with a guide received in a reaction container according to one or more embodiments of the disclosure.

[0013] FIG. IB illustrates a front partially cross-sectioned view of a magnetic particle collection system including a magnetic particle collection apparatus shown in an extended configuration with a guide moved vertically above a reaction container according to one or more embodiments of the disclosure .

[0014] FIG. 1C illustrates a partial front cross-sectioned view of a magnetic particle collection system including a magnetic particle collection apparatus shown in a retracted configuration with a guide received in a reaction container, but with the magnet retracted in the guide according to embodiments of the disclosure.

[0015] FIG. ID illustrates an enlarged, partial cross- sectioned view of an end of a magnetic particle collection apparatus in a retracted configuration with a guide received in a reaction container according to embodiments of the disclosure .

[0016] FIG. 2A illustrates a side view of a multi-piece magnet with a tapered tip according to embodiments of the disclosure . [0017] FIG. 2B illustrates an isometric view of a portion of a multi-piece magnet according to embodiments of the disclosure .

[0018] FIG. 2C illustrates an isometric view of a magnetic pickup end of a multi-piece magnet according to embodiments of the disclosure.

[0019] FIG. 3A illustrates a cross-sectioned side view of a portion of a magnetic particle collection device including a magnet in a retracted position shown with magnetic particles in a well of a multi-well pack according to embodiments of the disclosure .

[0020] FIG. 3B illustrates a cross-sectioned side view of a portion of a magnetic particle collection device in a well of a multi-well pack and including a magnet in an extended position shown with magnetic particles attracted to the magnet according to embodiments of the disclosure.

[0021] FIG. 3C illustrates a cross-sectioned side view of a portion of a magnetic particle collection device including a magnet in an extended position shown removing magnetic particles from a well of a multi-well pack according to embodiments of the disclosure.

[0022] FIG. 3D illustrates a cross-sectioned side view of a portion of a magnetic particle collection device in a well of a multi-well pack including a magnet in an extended position shown with magnetic particles attracted to the magnet according to embodiments of the disclosure.

[0023] FIG. 4 illustrates a flowchart of a method of magnetic particle collection according to embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0024] Some diagnostic analysis includes the use of magnetic particles mixed with at least one liquid and contained in a well. The liquid may include a sample of a bodily fluid and possibly a reagent. Processing may include removing the magnetic particles after the particles have reacted with the liquid in the well. For example, the magnetic particles may be removed from and thus separated from the liquid in the well. [ 0025 ] Apparatus and methods of magnetic particle collection are described herein. The apparatus and methods described herein improve magnetic particle collection and transportation of magnetic particles, such as between wells. An embodiment of a magnetic particle collection apparatus includes a coil and a guide extending from the coil, wherein the guide includes a first terminal end. A magnet is slidably received in the guide and includes a magnetic pickup end. When the coil is energized, the coil produces a magnetic field that acts on the magnet. In some embodiments, the energized coil acts to draw the magnet away from the first terminal end of the guide and thus positioning the magnet in a retracted position. In such embodiments, when the coil is not energized, the magnet may return (e.g., fall) to an extended position within the guide, such as by the force of gravity, so that the magnetic pickup end is proximate the first terminal end.

[ 0026 ] In use, the magnet may be in a first position or the extended position when the magnetic pickup end is proximate the first terminal end. In the extended position, magnetic particles within the well are attracted to the magnetic pick up end. The magnetic particle collection apparatus, with the magnetic particles attached thereto may then be removed from the well in some embodiments.

[ 0027 ] The magnetic particle collection apparatus may be moved to another well for further processing of the material attracted and/or bound to the magnetic particles. For example, the guide with the magnetic particles magnetically attached thereto may be removed from one well and lowered into the other well. After the magnetic particle collection apparatus is lowered into the well, the coil may be energized, which moves the magnetic pickup end to the retracted position (second position), so the magnetic pickup end is spaced from the first terminal end of the guide. This spacing reduces the magnetic attraction between the magnet and the magnetic particles, which results in a release of the magnetic particles into the well.

[0028] The use of the coil to move the magnet provides a simplified magnetic particle collection apparatus relative to conventional magnetic particle collection apparatus. For example, no motors or pneumatic devices are included in the magnetic particle collection apparatus to move the magnet. Furthermore, the guide of the magnetic particle collection apparatus may be rotated relatively easily to enable stirring of the contents of the well.

[0029] Magnetic particle collection apparatus, magnetic particle collection systems, and methods are described with reference to FIGs. 1A-4 herein.

[0030] Reference is now made to FIGs. 1A-1D, which illustrate a magnetic particle collection system 100 in different configurations. FIG. 1A illustrates a front partially cross- sectioned view of a magnetic particle collection system 100 including a magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 shown in an extended configuration and partially located within a reaction container 134. FIG. IB illustrates a front partially cross-sectioned view of the magnetic particle collection system 100 including the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 shown in an extended configuration but removed from a reaction container 134 according to embodiments of the disclosure. FIG. 1C illustrates a partial cross-sectioned front view of a portion of the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 with a magnet 104 of the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 shown in a retracted position. FIG.

ID illustrates an enlarged, partial cross-sectioned view of an end of a magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 shown in a retracted configuration. [ 0031 ] The magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 may include a housing 108 mechanically coupled to a robot 110, wherein the robot 110 is configured to move the housing 108. For example, the robot 110 may be configured to move the housing 108 in one or more coordinate directions. In some embodiments, robot 110 may be configured to move the housing in one or more directions, which may include one or more of X, Y (into an out of the paper as shown with a dot), and/or Z directions. For example, the robot 110 may be configured to move the housing 108 in the Z direction, in the X and Z directions, in the Y and Z directions, or in the X, Y, and Z directions. The robot 110 may also be configured to move the housing 108 in the RZ, in the theta-Z, or in the R-theta-Z directions. The X and Z directions are shown in FIGs. 1A and IB. The Y direction may be orthogonal to both the X direction and the Z direction and may extend normal to the views of FIGs. 1A and IB. The housing 108 may be made of materials that are nonmagnetic. Most of the components within the housing 108 may also be nonmagnetic.

[ 0032 ] The magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 may include a guide 112 received in the housing 108. The guide 112 may be at least partially hollow and may include a first terminal end 114A and a second terminal end 114B located on opposite ends of the guide 112. The guide 112 has an inner surface 112S that may be cylindrical. The guide 112 may be made of nonmagnetic material, such as plastic. The guide 112 may be made of other materials and the inner surface 112S may have other shapes.

[ 0033 ] Additional reference is made to FIG. ID, which illustrates an enlarged view of an end of the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 including the first terminal end 114A of the guide 112. The first terminal end 114A may include an open end including an opening 116. In some embodiments the second terminal end 114B may also include an opening. The guide 112 may have a first transverse dimension Dll and the opening 116 may have a second transverse dimension D12, wherein the transverse dimension Dll is greater than the transverse dimension D12, and may provide a loose slip fit.

The guide 112 may include a tapered portion 112T located at the first terminal end 114A, which may transition the inner surface 112S between the transverse dimension Dll of the guide 112 and the transverse dimension D12 of the opening 116. In some embodiments, the tapered portion 112T may extend at an angle relative to the inner surface 112S as shown in FIG. ID. In other embodiments, the tapered portion 112T may extend perpendicular to the inner surface 112S. As described in greater detail below, the magnet 104 may be moveable within the guide 112 in the Z direction. The tapered portion 112T may limit the movement of the magnet 104 within guide 112 to prevent the magnet 104 from fully passing through the opening 116. Thus, the tapered portion 112T acts a functional stop.

[0034] In some embodiments, the second terminal end 114B of the guide 112 or another portion of the guide 112 may be coupled to a motor 120, wherein the motor 120 may be configured and operational to rotate the guide 112. The motor 120 may be located within the housing 108 or otherwise have the case of the motor 120 coupled to the housing 108 and may include a shaft 120S that is rotated by the motor 120. In other embodiments the motor 120 may be located external to the housing 108, but positioned relative to the housing 108. The magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 may include a coupling 122 connecting the second terminal end 114B of the guide 112 to the shaft 120S of the motor 120. Any suitable coupling can be used.

[0035] In some embodiments, a portion of the guide 112 may be supported by a bearing 124 that is located in the housing 108 or elsewhere. The bearing 124 may be made of nonmagnetic materials so as not to interfere with or affect magnetic fields generated by the magnet 104 or electromagnetic devices (e.g., a coil 126) within the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102. Thus, the guide 112 may be rotatable within the housing 108 by the motor 120 and supported by the bearing 124. The guide 112 or devices connected thereto may be received in a liquid, and rotation of the guide 112 may enable the guide 112 or devices connected thereto to stir the liquid. In some embodiments, the motor 120 may be configured to rotate the guide 112 at a rotational frequency of about or at least 5,000 RPM. In other embodiments, the motor 120 may be configured to rotate the guide at a rotational frequency of at least 12,000 RPM. The high rotational frequency of the motor 120 enables quick and thorough mixing of contents of reaction containers. In some embodiments, the motor 120 may include an offset weight so as to impart vibration to the guide 108.

[ 0036 ] As discussed above, the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 includes the coil 126, wherein the guide 112 extends from the coil 126 and/or wherein the guide 112 is received through at least a portion of the coil 126. The coil 126 may be electrically coupled to a power source (not shown) wherein the coil 126 may be energized by the power source to generate a magnetic field. The magnetic field generated by the coil 126 may be strong enough to attract and move the magnet 104 in the Z direction to the retracted position. For example, the magnetic field generated by the coil 126 may be strong enough to overcome gravitational and any frictional forces and lift the magnet 104 within the guide 112 away from the first terminal end 114A of the guide 112. In some embodiments, energizing the coil 126 generates a magnetic field that acts on the magnet 104 and moves a magnetic pickup end 104A between a first position at the first terminal end 114A and a second position away from the first terminal end 114A.

[ 0037 ] The coil 126 may include from 1,500 to 2,000 windings of a 34 AWG (0.16 mm) diameter wire, for example. The windings may wrap around a bobbin to form a wound cylinder in which the guide 112 is received. In some embodiments, the coil 126 may be energized by a 24V source. The coil 126 may include other numbers of windings, other diameters of wire, and may be energized by other sources.

[0038] The magnet 104 is slidably received in the guide 112. For example, the magnet 104 may slide relative to the inner surface 112S of the guide 112. Reference is made to FIGs. 2A- 2C, which illustrate embodiments of the magnet 104. FIG. 2A illustrates a side view of the magnet 104 configured as a multi-piece magnet including a plurality of individual magnets 230 and a tapered end magnet 230B. FIG. 2B illustrates an isometric view of a portion of an individual magnet 230A in the configuration of a disc or puck. FIG. 2C illustrates an isometric view of the tapered end magnet 230B of the magnet 104 of FIG. 2A.

[0039] In some embodiments, the magnet 104 comprises a plurality or an assembly of individual magnets 230. For example, the magnet 104 may be formed from an assembly of cylindrical magnets. An individual magnet 230A of FIG. 2B illustrates an embodiment of one of the individual magnets 230, excluding the tapered end magnet 230B. The individual magnets 230 may stack together with opposing poles facing each other, so the individual magnets 230 are attracted to each other and form the magnet 104.

[0040] In some embodiments, the individual magnets 230 may be neodymium cylindrical magnets that are magnetized through their lengths (e.g., length L21), with north pole on one end and the south pole on the other. Reference is made to the individual magnet 230A, which is representative of all the individual magnets 230, excluding the tapered end magnet 230B. The individual magnet 230A may have a diameter D21 of about 0.138" (3.50 mm) and a thickness or length L21 of about 0.157"

(4.0 mm). The individual magnet 230A may have a strength of neodymium 50 and a pull force of about 1.09 pounds (0.49 kg). Other suitable diameters, thicknesses, lengths, and pull forces may be used.

[0041] The tapered end magnet 230B may have the same or similar magnetic properties as the individual magnet 230A and may have a widest diameter that is approximately the same as the diameter D21. The diameter D21 may be slightly less than the transverse dimension Dll (FIG. ID) of the guide 112 to enable the magnet 104 to easily slide relative to the guide 112. The diameter D21 may be greater than the transverse dimension D12 (FIG. ID) of the opening 116 to prevent the magnet 104 from sliding out of the opening 116. In some embodiments, the tapered end magnet 230B may be configured to at least partially extend through the opening 116 as described herein.

[0042] Referring again to FIGs. 1A-1D, the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 may be used in conjunction with a reaction container 134 that may include a well 136. The well 136 may be configured to contain at least one liquid and magnetic particles 140. At least one liquid may include one or more volumes of process materials (e.g., sample, reagent(s), one or more wash liquids, a lysis liquid, and an elution liquid, and/or the like). In some embodiments, the guide 112 may be insertable into a tip 142, which may be a disposable tip. In some embodiments, the interior dimensions of the tip 142 may be such that the tip 142 fits snugly into the guide 112, such as by friction or by interfering tapers. Rather than the guide 112 and/or the magnet 104 contacting the contents of the well 142, the tip 142 may contact the contents of the well 142. The tip 142 may include a closed end 142A located proximate the first terminal end 114A of the guide 112. The tip 142 may include an open end 142B located opposite the closed end 142A, which may receive the guide 112. [0043] The robot 110 may be configured to lower the guide 112 into the well 142 and raise the guide 112 from the well 142. The robot 110 may also be configured to move the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102, including the guide 112, in the X direction and, in some embodiments, a Y direction, which may be orthogonal to both the X direction and the Z direction. The robot 110 may include a chassis element 146 within the magnetic particle collection system 100, such as a gantry shown. The robot 110 may include an x-motor 148 that is configured to move the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 in the X direction relative to the chassis element 146.

The robot 110 may also include a z-motor 150 that is configured to move the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 in the Z direction relative to the chassis element 146. [0044] The x-motor 148 may be coupled to a pinion gear 148A, which may mesh with a rack 148B that is affixed to the chassis element 146. As the x-motor rotates the pinion gear 148A, the robot 110 moves the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 in the X direction relative to the chassis element 146. The z- motor 150 may be coupled to a pinion gear 150A, which may mesh with a rack 150B affixed to the housing 108. As the z-motor 150 rotates the pinion gear 150A, the robot 110 moves the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 in the Z direction relative to the chassis element 146. Other mechanisms may be used to move the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 in one or more coordinate directions.

[0045] Additional reference is made to FIGs. 3A-3D to describe an embodiment of the operation of the magnetic particle collection system 100 (FIGs. 1A-1B). FIGs. 3A-3B illustrate cross-sectioned views of an embodiment of a reaction container 334 that includes five wells 336 and a cross-sectioned view of a portion of the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102. The five wells 336 are referred to individually as the first through fifth wells 336A-336E, respectively. Other embodiments of the reaction container 334 may include more or fewer wells 336. The operation of the magnetic particle collection system 100 may commence with the robot 110 (FIGs. 1A-1B) moving the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 to a location where tips are stored. The robot 110 may move the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 in the Z direction to a point where the tip 142 attaches to the guide 112.

[ 0046 ] The robot 110 may then move the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 to a location where the guide 112 is located above the first well 336A. The first well 336A may contain a reagent, magnetic particles 140, and a specimen or sample. The first well 336A may include other liquids and/or materials. In some embodiments, one or more of the wells 336 may be covered by a material that may be pierced by the guide 112 and/or the tip 142. In some embodiments, the material is not present, i.e., has been previously removed. As shown, the coil 126 may be energized to generate a magnetic field that attracts (e.g., pulls) the magnet 104 to the coil 126 (FIG.

3A). In this position, the magnet 104 may be referred to as being in the retracted position, or the second position, where the magnetic pickup end 104A is spaced from the first terminal end 114A.

[ 0047 ] The first terminal end 114A may then be inserted into the first well 336A as shown in FIG. 3A. The magnet 104 is in the retracted position, so the magnetic field of the magnet 104 does not affect the movement of the magnetic particles 140 in the first well 336A. The magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 may stir the sample by rotating the guide 112 with the tip 142 attached thereto. For example, referring to FIGs. 1A-1B, the magnetic particle collection system 100 may energize the motor 120 to cause the guide 112 to rotate within the first well 336A, which mixes the contents of the first well 336A. In some embodiments, the motor 120 may rotate the guide 112 at a rotational frequency of about or at least 5,000 rpm. In some other embodiments, the motor 120 may rotate the guide 112 at a rotational frequency of greater than or equal to 12,000 rpm. In some embodiments, the first well 336A is the first step in a lysing process of a sample contained within the first well 336A.

[0048] When processing is complete within the first well 336A, the magnetic particles 140 may be collected as illustrated in FIG. 3B. Current supplied to the coil 126 (FIGs. 1A-1B) may be removed so the coil 126 does not generate a magnetic field. Gravity may then cause the magnet 104 to move to the extended position within the guide 112. For example, the magnet 104 may fall within the guide 112. The tapered end magnet 230B (FIG. 2A) of the magnet 104 may extend through the opening 116 (FIG. ID) of the guide 112. The magnetic field of the magnet 104 may be strongest at the point of the tapered end magnet 230B, which causes the magnetic particles 140 to be attracted to and collected at first terminal end 114A of the guide 112, as shown in FIG. 3B. The opening 116 further enables the tapered end magnet 230B to be located close to the contents within the first well 336A and provides a strong magnetic field proximate the first terminal end 114A. For example, the tapered end magnet 230B is only spaced from the contents in the first well 336A by the thickness of the tip 142 and not the combined thicknesses of the tip 142 and the guide 112, as is the remainder of the magnet 104. In some embodiments, the polarity of the coil 126 may be reversed, which forces the magnet 104 from the coil 126 and into the extended position.

[0049] Additional reference is made to FIG. 3C, which illustrates a partial view of the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 moving the magnetic particles 140 from the first well 336A. While the magnet 104 is in the extended position, the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 is raised from the first well 336A. For example, the z-motor 150 (FIGs. 1A- 1B) may move the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 in the Z direction away from the first well 336A.

[ 0050 ] Additional reference is made to FIG. 3D, which illustrates a partial view of the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 received within the second well 336B with the magnet 104 in the extended position. As shown in FIG. 3D, the robot 110 (FIGs. 1A-1B) has moved the magnetic particle collection apparatus 102 so that the guide 112, the tip 142, and the attached magnetic particles 140 are at least partially received in the second well 336B. The motor 120 (FIGs. 1A-1B) may rotate the guide 112 with the magnetic particles 140 attached or with the magnetic particles 140 released from the guide 112. For example, the motor 120 may rotate the guide 112 before or after the magnet 104 is moved to the retracted position. The second well 336B may provide for washing of the magnetic particles 140. For example, the magnet 104 may be moved to the retracted position, which releases the magnetic particles 140 from the guide 112. After washing in the second well 336B, the magnetic particles 140 may be collected by the guide 112 by returning the magnet 104 to the extended position. The magnetic particle collection system 100 may move the magnetic particles 140 to the remaining wells for further processing, such as further washing. The above-described processes of releasing and attracting the magnetic particles 140 and rotating the guide 112 may be repeated in at least one of the remaining wells.

[ 0051 ] A final process may include placing the magnetic particles 140 in an elution buffer, which may be contained with the fifth well 336E. For example, the magnetic particles 140 may be processed, such as incubated, in the fifth well 336E. The robot 110 may then move the guide 112 to a location where the tip 142 may be removed. The process may then be repeated with a new sample and different wells. [0052] Referring again to FIGs. 1A-1B, the motor 120 has been described as rotating the guide 112. In some embodiments, the motor 120, or another device replacing the motor 120, may vibrate the contents of the reaction container 134 and/or the reaction container 334 (FIG. 3A). For example, the device may cause the guide 112 to vibrate in the Z direction. In some embodiments, the motor 120 may rotate the guide 112 on an axis that is offset from a central axis of the guide. Such a rotation may improve or provide a different mixing profile of the contents of the reaction container 134 and/or the reaction container 334. Other modes of vibration are possible, such as radial vibration.

[0053] As briefly described above, in some embodiments, the coil 126 may be electrically coupled to a power source that enables current to be reversed through the coil 126. Thus, current flow in a first direction through the coil 126 attracts the magnet 104 to the retracted position. Current flow in a second direction, opposite the first direction, changes the polarity of the magnetic field generated by the coil 126 and repels the magnet 104 to the extended position. [0054] The magnet 104 has been described above as being in a normally extended position. For example, gravity forces the magnet 104 to the extended position and the magnetic field generated by the coil 126 acts on the magnet 104 to force the magnet 104 into the retracted position. In some embodiments, a spring or the like may retain the magnet 104 in a normally retracted position. Energizing the coil 126 may generate a magnetic field that acts on the magnet 104 to force the magnet 104 to the extended position. In either embodiment, the coil 126 generates a magnetic field that acts on the magnet 104 and moves the magnetic pickup end 104A between a first position (e.g., retracted or extended position) at the first terminal end 114A and a second position (other of retracted or extended position) away from the first terminal end 114A. [ 0055 ] According to a method aspect, a method of magnetic particle collection according to one or more embodiments will now be described with reference to FIG. 4. The method 400 includes, in 402, providing a magnetic particle collection apparatus (e.g., magnetic particle collection apparatus 102) comprising a coil (e.g., coil 126), a guide (e.g., guide 112) extending from the coil, the guide including a first terminal end (e.g., first terminal end 114A), and a magnet (e.g., magnet 104) slidably received in the guide and including a magnetic pickup end (e.g., magnetic pickup end 104A). The method 400 includes, in 404, energizing the coil to move the magnetic pickup end of the magnet between a first position at the first terminal end and a second position away from the first terminal end.

[ 0056 ] While the disclosure is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific assembly and apparatus embodiments and methods thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that it is not intended to limit the disclosure to the particular assemblies, apparatus, or methods disclosed, but, to the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the claims.