FAQ’s: Multiwell Plates

Plate Utilization

Q1: How are multi-well glass bottom plates typically used?
MatTek’s glass bottom multi-well plates are routinely utilized for fluorescence/immunofluorescence microscopy, confocal, live cell imaging, microinjection, videomicroscopy, phase contrast and time lapse photomicroscopy. Our glass bottom multi-well plates can be used for almost all of the same applications for which the standard glass bottom dishes can be used.
Q2: What are the advantages of using multi-well glass bottom plates compared to the standard glass bottom culture dishes?
  1. The main advantage of the multi-well glass bottom plates is that you can grow 6, 12, 24, 48 or 96 cultures under identical conditions in the same culture plate. The multi-well plates are ideal for high throughput, high/high content screening applications.
  2. Analysis using the multi-well plates is streamlined because only one (1) plate (versus multiple petri dishes) needs to be handled.
  3. For a number of applications, treatment of the cultures (e.g., irradiation) is simplified using the multi-well plates.
  4. Smaller wells in the glass bottom multi-well plates are useful for application of precious reagents in smaller volumes.
Q3: Who are the main users of multi-well glass bottom plates?
Pharmaceutical Companies (due to high throughput testing), Academic/Research Institutions, and Medical Research Institutions.

Q4: What kind of feedback have you received from customers?
Feedback has been very positive. A number of customers have purchased multi-well plates without first trying a sample based on their previous experience with the standard glass bottom dishes.

For new users, a sample plate can be requested on our free sample page.

Q5: What type of microscope is best for multi-well glass bottom plates?
The 6-well glass bottom plate can be used with upright or inverted microscopes.  However, the 12-well, 24-well, 48-well and 96-well plates are compatible only with inverted microscopes.

Q6: Can the coverslips be removed from the glass bottom 6-well, 12-well and 24-well plates?
Yes. However, for most applications, cells growing in the glass bottom multi-well plates can be viewed without removal of the coverslips.  If necessary (e.g. for long term storage purposes), the coverslips can be removed using the following procedure:

  1. Order part # PDCF OS 30 (Fluid for removal of coverslips from glass bottom plates, available from MatTek).
  2. Place the cover of the multi-well plate on a clean surface top side up (Do not invert the cover).
  3. Pipette 3.0 ml of PDCF OS 30 fluid onto the top side of the cover.
  4. Place the bottom of the multi-well plate on top of the cover. The coverslip removal liquid on the cover should be touching the coverslips attached to the bottom of the multi-well plate.
  5. Allow the plate to sit in the fluid for 45 min at room temperature.
  6. Blot the bottom of the multi-well plate using an absorbent paper towel.
  7. Place the multi-well plate on a clean surface. Using forceps, press down on the edge of the coverslips to separate the coverslips from the plate.

Note: If the above procedure is followed, the PDCF OS 30 fluid will not contact the cells and will not disrupt cells on the coverslip or the staining thereof. Coverslips can be removed without breakage. 

For long term storage of samples, MatTek chambered cell culture slides (available in 2-well, 4-well, and 8-well slides) are an excellent option.

Q7: How can I use the glass bottom multi-well plates for Nomarski Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) microscopy?
You will need to order BOTH a glass bottom multi-well plate and a multi-well glass cover. Order any P06G plate (e.g. part #: P06G-1.5-20-F), P12G plate (e.g. part #: P12G-1.5-14-F), or P24G plate (e.g. part #: P24G-1.5-13-F) along with a glass cover (e.g. part# P24GTOP-1.5-F). The glass covers can be re-used following re-sterilization of the covers by soaking them in 70% ethanol for 30 minutes.
Q8: Can the glass bottom multi-well plates be re-used?
MatTek glass bottom multi-well plates are intended for single-use experiments.
We do NOT recommend re-using the glass bottom multi-well plates. The surface properties of the substrate on which cells are cultured have a profound effect on cell structure and function. Reuse of plates will introduce uncontrolled variables into your experiments which may affect experimental results.

Plate Properties

Q9: How deep are the wells of the glass bottom multi-well plates? What is the height of the well sidewall?
The depth of the micro-wells and the height of the sidewall depends on the type of multi-well plate:

  1. 6-well plate: Microwell depth = 1.45-1.55 mm; Well depth = 17 mm
  2. 12-well plate: Microwell depth = 1.45-1.55 mm; Well depth = 17 mm
  3. 24-well plate: Microwell depth = 1.10-1.20 mm; Well depth = 17 mm
  4. 48-well plate: Microwell depth = 1.05-1.20 mm; Well depth = 18 mm
  5. 96-well plate: Microwell depth = 1.05-1.25 mm; Well depth = 10 mm
Q10: What is the diameter of the wells in the standard glass bottom multi-well plates?
  1. 6-well plate: 10, 14, or 20 mm
  2. 12-well plate: 10 or 14 mm
  3. 24-well plate: 10 or 13 mm
  4. 48-well plate: 6 mm
  5. 96-well plate: 5 mm
Q11: What is the volume of medium to use for the glass bottom multi-well plates?
  1. 6-well plate:   3-4 ml / well
  2. 12-well plate: 1-2 ml / well
  3. 24-well plate: 0.5-1.0 ml / well
  4. 48-well plate: 0.25-0.35 ml / well
  5. 96-well plate: 0.1-0.2 ml / well
Q12: What is the adhesive used to attach the coverslips to the plates?
Although the specific identity of the adhesive is proprietary, the adhesive used is a non-toxic silicone that is compatible with a broad variety of cells including primary neurons and many other difficult-to culture, fastidious cells.
Q13: What is the chemical compatibility of Glass Bottom Dishes and Multi-Well Plates? Can they be used with organic solvents?
The body of the glass bottom dishes and multi-well plates is made from polystyrene. Therefore, they have limited compatibility with organic solvents. Please see the chemical compatibility table.
SolventChemical Compatibility
Ammonium hydroxide (1N)Fair
Ammonium hydroxide (25%)Fair
DMSO/H2O (20/80)Good
Hydrochloric acid (25%)Good
Hydrochloric acid (concentrated)Fair
Methyl ethyl diketonePoor
Methylene chloridePoor
Nitric acid (25%)Poor
Nitric acid (concentrated)Poor
Sodium hydroxideGood
Q14: How do I know that the glass bottom multi-well plates are sterile?
All glass bottom multi-well plates are gamma irradiated at an FDA approved and certified vendor. We sterilize our dishes in bulk – typically >5000 separate cases are sterilized at the same time. Since sterility is an absolute requirement for all of our customers, the gamma dose that we use is excessive in order to ensure sterility.

Following sterilization, dishes are subject to our quality control analysis to verify sterility: they are incubated in antibiotic- and anti-fungal-free medium for 7 days. In addition, each box has a gamma irradiation indicator which turns red upon exposure to gamma rays.

Q15: Do you offer multi-well glass bottom plates that are black to eliminate cross-talk between wells?
Yes. In order to minimize back-scattered light and background fluorescence, we offer 96-well glass bottom plates (part # PBK96G-1.5-5-F) that are black. All properties of the PBK96G-1.5-5-F plates are identical to the standard, clear-wall 96-well glass bottoms plates (part #: P96G-1.5-5.F) except the sidewalls of each well in the PBK96G-1.5-5-F plates are opaque (black).

Note: Back-scattered light and background fluorescence is not a problem in the larger well plates (i.e. 6-well, 12-well, 24-well, and 48-well glass bottom plates).

Plate Coatings

Q16: Can I order poly-d-lysine or collagen coated glass bottom multi-well plates?
Currently, only poly-d-lysine coated 96-well plates are available as standard products (Part #’s: P96GC-1.5-5-F and P96GC-0-5-F).