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NanoPOTS Sample Processing Technology

Battelle Number(s): 31015-E
Clearance Number: PNNL-SA-145537
Patent(s) Pending
Available for licensing in all fields

NanoPOTS: New Technology for Processing Trace Samples
  • The unique design of the NanoPOTS system can integrate with typical mass spectrometry work flows.

  • Evaluation of the sensitivity and reproducibility of the nanoPOTS platform. (a) Images of 12, 42, and 139 HeLa cells in nanowells and (b) their corresponding base peak chromatograms. The Y axis was held constant to show signal variation with cell loadings. (c) Number of unique peptides and (d) protein groups identified from different cell loadings. Three samples containing similar cell numbers were grouped together to determine reproducibility.

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The challenge of obtaining the highest amount of useful information possible from the smallest amount of sample possible is well known in biological and chemical analysis. In particular, current sample processing technologies are not capable of yielding useful information from very small biological samples that are analyzed using mass spectrometry.   

The “nanoPOTS” (Nanodroplet Processing in One pot for Trace Samples) technology was developed by PNNL scientists specifically to address this problem. The novel design of the microfabricated sample wells, the control of the sample handling conditions, and a robotic handling system for nanoliter volumes allow the new technology to achieve analytical results from small samples that provide orders of magnitude more information than existing technologies. For example, one study identified more than 18,000 peptides and more than 3,000 proteins from mammalian samples comprising just 10 to 14 cells.  Similar order-of-magnitude improvements over previously reported methods have been demonstrated for even smaller cell amounts including single cells. 


  • Substantially improved analytical results for very small sample sizes
  • Easy incorporation into existing mass spectrometry analytical work flows
  • Strong value proposition for licensing vendor to supply both the robotics sample handling system and the consumable sample plates and nanowells


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