Microscope Slide Cleaning System

Project number: 
Roche Tissue Diagnostics
Academic year: 
Histology workflow for preparing tissue samples on microscope slides is an intensively manual process. The HE 600 automates the process, but the slides output often have residue and other surface artifacts that must be cleaned before a pathologist can analyze them.

This project presents a prototype of an automated cleaning system that eliminates the time-consuming step whereby histo-technicians manually clean the slides post-processing and reduces the possibility of complications during sample analysis. This team extensively tested different cleaning methods utilizing design of experiments, verified an optimal cleaning process and developed a single axis machine design to automate the cleaning process.

A linear actuator, controlled by a Raspberry Pi, lowers the slide between two rotating rollers, where cleaning solution and rinse are dispensed via two nozzles. The slide is then raised to its original location and passes through additional nozzles blowing a controlled air stream to dry the surface. A camera captures before and after pictures of the slide, and the images are stored for reference. Users interface with the controller through a touch screen, and an emergency stop is integrated into the system. The system cleans 20 slides in 15 minutes, conforming to the processing rate of the HE 600.

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