The UltraCLAVE is a floor standing SRC based microwave digestion system. The cabinet is all stainless steel and the work area is surrounded by a thick acrylic glass screen which is interlocked to prevent operation unless the screen is in position. Above the work area is a control panel featuring a large LCD display displaying system status, reaction temperature, N2 load pressure, reaction pressure, and elapsed program time. The UltraCLAVE features a very large SRC chamber of 4.1 liters capacity, manufactured from solid stainless steel, cooled by a water jacket, and fitted with a PTFE liner.
The 1200w microwave power source is located at the base of the chamber and optimized for even distribution of microwave energy. Samples sit in a liquid “load” which insures conditions are consistent from run to run. The SRC chamber is fitted with a transducer type direct pressure sensor and a thermocouple type temperature sensor. This means that every sample is under direct pressure and temperature control, giving unmatched control of the digestion process. Sample racks are available in several sizes though the most popular is the 40* position rack which holds 20mL vials (either glass, quartz, or TFM). The SRC chamber is raised and lowered automatically by an electric motor and the chamber clamp is fastened and released automatically. Prior to the start of the microwave program, the chamber is pressurized to 40 bar with N2 from a standard gas bottle or lab gas supply. This acts as a “cover” to prevent boiling and eliminate any possibility of cross-contamination.
Following the completion of the digestion program, the chamber is vented, and twin exhaust ducts extract acid fumes away from the operator. Cool down time is slightly longer than the UltraWAVE due to the much larger SRC chamber, but overall sample throughput is higher due to the larger sample batches. Extremely high temperature and pressure (300 deg. C and 200 bar) conditions can be maintained for extended periods, so any sample type can be digested – even the most refractory materials, and since all samples are held under the same conditions, different sample types can digested in the same run. A further benefit of the high pressure capability is that higher weights of organic samples can be digested. In fact it is possible to digest up to 25g of dry organic material in a single batch, placed directly into the PTFE liner of the SRC chamber.
UltraCLAVE offers significant savings over closed vessel digestion in labor cost since there are no digestion vessels to assemble/disassemble and no vessel cleaning run needed. Productivity is significantly increased since batching of samples into identical types is not required. And no method development is required – a single program can be used for virtually every application.Finally, for high throughput labs there are significant savings in consumables – no vessels, caps, and shields to replace.
UltraCLAVE has an optional rack that holds 77 x 12mL vials. While 12mL vials are slightly too small for some sample types, they work well for microsampling applications such as clinical, and in these cases, 77 samples can be digested simultaneously.