Smart cryovials

The substrate development resulted in special electronic cryo-vials that can be adapted to differing volumes. An integrated memory chip can store all iden­tifiers and additional sample description, legal constraints, data format and publication data as well as the complete parameter set for operating the laboratory workflow.


Intelligent cryosubstrate. Schematic picture (left), original (middle) and cryovial on electronic rack (right)

The vial has a modular design with multiple safety components:

(1) Colored screw cap with O-ring;
(2) Biological sample container with in-mold labeling (barcode and individual marking);
(3) Base container with electronic identification technology and vial connector;
(4) Position key including cavity for RFID-Tag using wireless identification;
(5) Position of Flash memory chip for sample information storage down to -196 °C.
This memory chip represents a portable data archive for each sample. It is cryo-tolerant and connects to the workflow management and database system as well as to the new cryoelectronic infrastructure in sample storage tanks.

Furthermore, in order to retrofit exis­ting sample collections with the new identification technolo­gy, an adapter for standard cryo­vials has been molded that snaps around the vial.

Left: Adapter embracing a standard cryovials. Right: Electronic box (“Port”) on USB docking station to read out cryovials automatically. The conventional cryovials are equipped with the adapters, which carry the memory chips.

A special electronic vial box (“Port”) has been developed that works as a carrier during lab processing and during cryostorage of the new electronic vials. This vial box provides the electronic interface between the vials and the lab/database software systems.

The special and world wide unique and patented solution is the electronic chip system, which can be read out and written on at temperatures down to -196°C. Thus, sample control and inventory as well as individual sample selection can be performed without opening the cryotank lid. These are key features and a presupposition for automation and a remarkable step forward to the organisation of future biobanks.

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