US 9,810,622 B2
Sample testing systems and methods with automated cleaning
Norbert D. Hagen, Carlsbad, CA (US); Byron J. Knight, San Diego, CA (US); and David Opalsky, San Diego, CA (US)
Assigned to GEN-PROBE INCORPORATED, San Diego, CA (US)
Filed by GEN-PROBE INCORPORATED, San Diego, CA (US)
Filed on Apr. 8, 2016, as Appl. No. 15/94,227.
Claims priority of provisional application 62/145,247, filed on Apr. 9, 2015.
Prior Publication US 2016/0299056 A1, Oct. 13, 2016
Int. Cl. G01N 21/15 (2006.01); G01N 35/00 (2006.01); B08B 1/00 (2006.01); B08B 9/00 (2006.01); G02B 6/38 (2006.01)
CPC G01N 21/15 (2013.01) [B08B 1/00 (2013.01); B08B 9/00 (2013.01); G01N 35/0092 (2013.01); G01N 35/00623 (2013.01); G01N 35/00871 (2013.01); G02B 6/3866 (2013.01); B08B 2240/02 (2013.01); G01N 35/0099 (2013.01); G01N 2021/152 (2013.01); G01N 2035/00277 (2013.01)] 24 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. A sample testing system, comprising:
a test receptacle support structure;
an optical element positioned for transmitting electromagnetic radiation emitted or reflected by a sample disposed in a test receptacle supported by the test receptacle support structure;
a cleaning member; and
an automated transport arm configured to
detachably couple the cleaning member,
move the detachably-coupled cleaning member into a position proximate to and/or contacting the optical element, and
decouple the cleaning member.
 
23. A cleaning member for use in a sample testing system, comprising:
a proximal coupling element; and
a distal cleaning element, the coupling element having a proximal end portion configured to releasably mate with an automated transport arm.
 
24. A method of operating a sample testing system, the system comprising a test receptacle support structure and an optical element positioned for transmitting electromagnetic radiation emitted or reflected by a sample disposed in a test receptacle supported by the test receptacle support structure, the method comprising using an automated transport arm to:
detachably couple a cleaning member to a working end of the transport arm;
move the detachably-coupled cleaning member into a position proximate to and/or contacting the optical element, such that the cleaning member thereby cleans and/or sterilizes the optical element; and
decouple the cleaning member from the working end of the transport arm.