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PatchMan - Test Report

The new Ependorf Micromanipulator for electro-physiology, PatchMan, was tested under practical conditions at the Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Gttingen (Germany). Eppendorf received the following report:
The Micromanipulator PatchMan was used at MPI for a variety of patch clamp experiments:
We performed whole cell experiments on chromaffine cells and RBL cells. Chromaffine cells have a diameter of 510 m. Exact, fine positioning is thus absolutely necessary to produce a giga seal. Measurements were performed over 530 minutes. It is very important that the measurements were drift-free.

Patch clamp experiment on a chromaffine cell from the suprarenal suture We performed 2030 single experiments per day. Each of these experiments included the mounting of a pipette into the pipette holder, subsequent lowering into the experimenting chamber with the HOME function and the positioning of the pipette (diameter of opening: 1 m) on the cell using the joystick.

On the whole, the pipette was positioned in the SLOW mode. However, we also tested the STEP mode. At the end of measurement, the pipette was returned to the HOME position to facilitate its exchange for the next experiment.

Results
  1. The PatchMan works well. Its range of functions, two variable speeds, and CLEAN/HOME function are completely sufficient for at least 90% of all standard patch clamp experiments. The STEP mode is only interesting fo r beginners as even very fine movements can be performed with the joystick in the SLOW mode after only a little practice. Axial movement was not used in the experiments performed.
  2. Operation is very easy and the functional controls are good. Users of the Micromanipulator 5171 found that operation with 4 buttons was easier.
  3. Travel behavior is excellent. Movements are smooth and easy to control. The joystick works well and has just the right spring-loading (almost better than for MM 5171). The resistance is a little larger and the user has the impression that he has better control.
  4. No electrical interference was determined in the range checked (up to 5 kHz).
  5. No drift was determined during the period measured (* 30 minutes). Therefore, PatchMan can be considered to be absolutely drift-free for patch clamp measurements.
  6. The optional CLEAN function is only useful for specific patch clamp users. It should not be activated at the factory.

    On the whole, PatchMan made a very good impression on the scientists at the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry. It provides a very good alternative to the Micromanipulator 5171 for general patch clamp measurements.

    This concludes the report from the MPI in Gttingen.

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