To provide scientists with automated and intelligent fluidic instrumentation by focusing on analytical solutions – not just products.
FIAlab Instruments is a leading manufacturer of flow injection analysis (FIA) and sequential injection analysis (SIA) instrumentation. These instruments are used to automate and streamline many liquid-handling procedures. Our instruments are mostly used for environmental and agricultural analysis. However, research departments and industries ranging from fertilizer to semiconductor manufacturing have found our instruments vital to their operations. Other applications include on-line process monitoring and sensor development.
Beyond instrumentation, FIAlab also specializes in software development – including custom work. We realize that quality software is just as important as quality hardware. We have developed software that takes full advantage of the dynamic capabilities of FIA and SIA. These programs are revolutionarily powerful and, most importantly, easy to learn and use.
Fluidics Intelligently Automated
Flow injection analysis and sequential injection analysis technologies provide essential and unique solutions to many problems scientists face when dealing with precise liquid-handling procedures. By combining our instruments with powerful software, we can solve many of these problems. FIAlab’s technologies can greatly increase the productivity and efficiency of laboratories across the world.
More Than an Instrument
Your laboratory deserves more than a measurement device when purchasing a new instrument. You deserve a solution backed by support and software to maximize its potential. We understand this and strive to deliver solutions - not just products.
With that in mind, our instruments come backed with cutting-edge software, dependable service, and a team of support experts.
Going Beyond The Production Line
There are many times when a standard product does not cut it. We are willing to build custom solutions for your analytical needs. Our analyzers and software are all constructed in-house, allowing us to quickly and effectively create customized solutions to meet your analytical needs. So whether that is method development, software design, or product modification, we will work with you to accomplish your goals. Past projects include detailed software re-writes, custom analyzer builds, and advanced process-monitoring systems.
FIAlab Instruments has perhaps the strongest roots in flow injection out there. The inventor of these techniques founded FIAlab in 1987. For over 30 years now, we have remained on the cutting-edge of these techniques and have significantly improved these technologies. We have also used sequential injection technology for many years. Not many companies can provide the SIA solutions we have developed since FIAlab's early years.
Why Use Flow Injection
Flow injection analysis was first invented for agronomists. They needed to test their crops and soil in great numbers during the busy seasons– greater than what traditional manual assays could handle.
Along those same lines, our flow analyzers are practical for anyone seeking:
- Higher sample throughputs
- Automated analytical instrumentation
- Replacements for manual methods to save time and labor
- Precise and replicable data
- Reliable standard operating procedures
- Top-notch software
- Complete solutions for analytical needs
What is Flow Injection Analysis?
Flow injection analysis (FIA) is a technique for automating wet chemistry by pumping small volumes of samples and reagents through a flow stream in an organized, systematic way. Reagents and sample mix in this stream creating a chemical reaction. These chemistries are usually colorimetric - meaning a color develops as a result of the sample and reagents mixing. These reactions are positively correlated: more color development signifies that more analyte is present. This change in color is then detected by any variety of spectrometry or absorbance measurements. The greater the absorbance value, the greater color development. There are also FIA methods that utilize turbidimetric measurements. Instead of a color developing in the flow stream as one observes in colorimetric reactions, a precipitate is formed. This is called turbidity. The turbidity can also be measured using spectroscopy.
In order to calculate the concentration of unknown samples, a calibration curve must first be constructed using standards of known concentrations. By comparing the response or absorbance values of these standards to that of unknown samples, one can accurately calculate the concentration of unknown samples. A linear or quadratic formula is created from known standards and the responses of unknown samples are plotted against this to calculate the unknown concentrations. A typical calibration curve will encompass the full range of possible unknown values.
There are four main components on a FIA analyzer. These are the peristaltic pump, the selector valve, the mixing manifold, and the detector.
The peristaltic pump is the driving force of an FIA instrument. This pump will drive reagent and samples through the entire system. These pumps have “lines”. Each line leads to a single reagent or sample. Most FIA methods utilize four lines: sample, carrier, reagent one and reagent two. Current technologies have allowed these pumps to be extremely efficient and smooth. Peristaltic pumps in the past have been wasteful and jumpy. FIAlab only chooses pumps that do not pulsate or use excess reagent. This significantly calms baseline noise and reduces waste production.
The selector valve is a critical component in an FIA system. As the autosampler probe travels from sample to sample, it enters and leaves liquid. All the while, the peristaltic pump continues to run. The pump draws air as the probe is out of solution, and air travels toward the FIA system. The selector valve is what allows air to bypass the system. It directs collected air to waste and then injects pure sample into the flow stream. As a result, you do not have to deal with problematic air bubbles and the throughput of the analysis is greatly increased. The use of a selector valve distinguishes FIA from segmented flow analysis (SFA) where air bubbles are left to flow through the system.
It is important in FIA methods that reagents and sample mix in a step-wise and systematic fashion. The mixing manifold acts as the crossroads for reagents and samples. For example, you must first react reagent one with sample and allow time for these solutions to mix before introducing sample to reagent two. Without doing so, you will not have a proper chemical reaction and no measurable colorimetric reaction will take place. FIAlab has created the smallest, most efficient mixing manifold on the market. We call it the Lab-On-Valve. This manifold is the reason why our analyzers are also the smallest on the market.
The last part of an FIA system is the detector unit. This is comprised of a light source, a flow cell, a spectrometer, and fiber optic cables to connect these components together. A spectrometer measures absorbance over time. But, it can only do that if it has a consistent flow of light - that is why a light source is included in all FIA systems. The flow cell sits between the light source and the spectrometer. A flow cell has four ports - each connected to one other. Two ports are allocated for the entry and exit of solution. The other two ports are directly across from each other creating what we call the “optical path”. These ports are water-tight and connect to the fibers. One fiber leads to the light source and the other leads to the spectrometer. This configuration allows for the light source to shoot light to the spectrometer as the colored sample passes through the optical path and eventually to waste. That is the exact moment when absorbance readings are taken by the spectrometer.
FIAlab is the only FIA manufacturer to utilize a spectrometer. Most instruments will use a photodiode. A spectrometer allows for the end user to utilize the full spectrum of light which makes a FIAlab analyzer more useful, versatile, and easy-to-use.
Who uses flow injection analysis:
Anyone that needs to automate wet chemistry will likely utilize flow injection analysis. Applications that prioritize throughput and automation will find FIA analyzers especially useful. Labs dealing with agricultural, environmental, pharmaceutical, and industrial analysis use these instruments. Common applications include the analysis of inorganics or nutrients in soil, water, wastewater, drinking water, and fertilizer.
FIAlab also specializes in a technology called Sequential Injection Analysis (SIA). This technology is perfect for automating applications that require precise and small reagent consumption. This technology is especially useful in the biopharmaceutical space.