How to use self-adhesive films with easy-to-follow steps


How to use self-adhesive films.

Sealing films are an important part of many laboratory procedures. Sealing films seal microplates and prevent the evaporation of liquids or gases, which can affect the results of experiments. There are a variety of different sealing films available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we will discuss how to use self-adhesive films and their use in the laboratory.

It may look simple, but if PCR plates are not properly sealed, your time, expense and hard work could go to waste. It is worth investing a little time to understand all you need to know to get it right every time.

PCR plates accelerate research by allowing the analysis of a large number of samples in a quicker time frame. Each microplate can hold a range of different samples within its wells, so it is essential to protect the contents from cross-contamination as well as contamination from the external environment. Correctly used sealing films can achieve this and prevent evaporation.

Which is the best sealing material for PCR plates?

Choosing the right material to seal your microplate requires consideration of the type of plate being used and the sample within its wells, as well as the processes it will undergo and equipment specifications.

You may also develop a preference based on experience. In preparation, ask yourself:

  • Will you need to access some or all the wells during the processing steps?
  • Does the seal need to be transparent e.g. for optical applications?
  • What length of time does the seal need to stay viable?
  • How reactive are the substances within the wells?
  • What temperatures will the seal experience?
  • How tight do the seals need to be?  
  • Are you using thin-walled or thick-walled plates?

How is self-adhesive microplate sealing film applied?

For films and foils that have an adhesive coating, the trick is to apply pressure evenly across the whole plate ensuring a tight seal on each well.

  1. Place your plate on a flat, stable surface
  2. Remove the backing from the seal
  3. Place the self-adhesive film onto the surface of the microplate – start at one corner and work your way around, ensuring all wells are covered
  4. Starting at one end, use our QuickSeal Roller to apply even pressure across the plate to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles in the self-adhesive film.
  5. Some adhesive film seals become fully sealed once heated during processes like thermocycling.

Using a heat sealer

Heat sealers can be used with film or foil seals and will create a very tight seal by melting the film to the rim of each well. They are fast, reliable and should work with shallow and deep plates, tube racks and custom mouldings.

Fully automated models can be programmed to alter sealing time, pressure, temperature, size and distance to be sealed, all customisable to suit a wide range of applications. Heat sealing is particularly appropriate for the long-term storage of samples.  

Whatever your choice of material, it needs to be effective and watertight, always source them from a reputable supplier.