Understanding UV Crosslinkers

UV Crosslinker

Understanding UV Crosslinkers

UV crosslinkers provide researchers with an instrument that can safely and efficiently expose samples to controlled amounts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV crosslinkers are primarily used in molecular biology research. These devices are essential for several vital applications and make it possible for experts to explore molecular structures and functions, map DNA and conduct other crucial research in the medical and biological research fields.

Whether you're interested in learning more about ultraviolet crosslinkers or have just purchased one for your lab, our guide is here to help you make the most of this essential lab device.

What Is a UV Crosslinker Used for, and How Does It Work?

UV crosslinkers are an excellent source of the UV needed for the process of crosslinking because of their efficiency. UV crosslinkers measure and control UV radiation in an exposure chamber.

The instrument features a specialized UV sensor that continually monitors and adjusts the UV energy level in the exposure chamber. The UV sensors adjust to changes in UV intensity as the UV tubes age. With the sensor measurement system, you can control UV sample exposure. The system also automatically deactivates the UV sources when the system achieves the set UV energy dose.

Researchers can use crosslinkers in the following applications:

  • UV curing: UV curing is a process where UV light initiates photochemical reactions to produce a crosslinked network of polymers. UV curing has applications in cosmetics, medicine, automobile manufacturing, and even food and art. 
  • Crosslinking proteins: Crosslinking proteins to bind protein molecules aids researchers in exploring protein-protein interactions. 
  • PCR sample contamination control: Crosslinkers can be used to eliminate polymerase chain reaction contamination
  • Exploring RNA structures and function: There are currently knowledge gaps in the understanding of the photo-crosslinking mechanisms of RNA complexes. UV crosslinking helps researchers look into RNA structures and functions further.
  • ChIP assays: UV crosslinking can sometimes be part of the ChIP technique to investigate protein-DNA interactions in cells. 
  • Sterilization and sanitation: UV crosslinkers can also be used for UV sterilization and sanitation. UV disinfection can render microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast harmless in a matter of seconds.
  • Southern and Northern blot analysis: UV crosslinkers can be used in blotting techniques that identify and quantify DNA and RNA.


UV Crosslinking Process

Always read your specific UV crosslinker's instruction manual as a safety measure to achieve the desired results. If you have questions about operating the crosslinker, contact the manufacturer. Generally, you can operate a UV crosslinker by doing the following:

  • Set the UV crosslinker on a level working surface with sufficient space to open the door.
  • Plug in the crosslinker and ensure you are working with the proper operating voltage, which can be found in the instruction manual. 
  • Switch the crosslinker to the “On” position. You can view the UV exposure settings on the display panel.
  • Place your sample into the chamber, and then set or select your settings. To proceed with preset options, hit the “Preset” button and the “Energy” or “Time Mode” buttons. The programmed UV expsoure setting will show in the display panel. Check the manual for model-specific instructions if you want to change the preset options. 

Regardless of the setting, you can expect a slight delay as the UV tubes energize before the countdown begins. At the end of the exposure cycle, the crosslinker will stop automatically and beep to signal that exposure is complete. 

If you need to stop the exposure cycle at any point, simply push “Stop” or “Pause.” The remaining exposure will show on the display panel, and you may restart the cycle from that same point by pressing “Start.” Opening and closing the door will also stop and restart the cycle.

Considerations When Using UV Crosslinkers 

Safety is a top consideration when using UV crosslinkers. UV crosslinkers are powerful sources of UV radiation, and anyone handling or operating them should do so with utmost care to prevent the health and safety hazards of UV radiation exposure. 

Wear PPE With UV Crosslinkers

Always wear lab-appropriate PPE to protect your eyes and skin when working with any radiation source. This includes a fully buttoned lab coat, long pants and closed shoes. Extra care should be taken to protect exposed areas of the body, including the neck. Researchers should also wear a UV-certified polycarbonate face shield. While UV-certified goggles and safety glasses protect the eyes, a shield provides more extensive facial protection. Disposable nitrile gloves will help protect the hands and wrists. 

Observing these precautions is key to promoting safety:

  • Check that the unit is dry before connecting it to a supply voltage. 
  • Only connect the unit to a power supply with a safety ground terminal. 
  • Only use the unit in an environment that is free of combustible or flammable materials. 
  • Don't block the ventilation openings. 
  • Don't touch the parts of the device that become hot during operation. 
  • Only use the unit for its intended purposes.
  • Never use the crosslinker if the door safety interlock is faulty. 
  • Never attempt to override the UV crosslinker's internal safety interlocks.


Maintainance and Care Tips for Your UV Crosslinker

Maintaining your UV crosslinker ensures it functions optimally and improves the device's life span. Proper care is also crucial for safety, as it can help you prevent malfunctions.

To ensure proper maintenance, remember these tips:

  • Follow all instructions in the safety manual for changing bulbs and fuses. 
  • Disconnect the unit from the power supply and allow it to cool before cleaning it. 
  • Clean your device with the right techniques to avoid damaging it. 
  • Follow appropriate cleanup procedures if any spills occur. 

On a final note, if the unit ever needs repairs or part replacements, contact the manufacturer for assistance. Never attempt to fix the crosslinker on your own — a professional has the expertise and tools to repair the device safely and effectively.

Learn More About the UV Crosslinker AH From Boekel Scientific Today

At Boekel Scientific, we specialize in designing and manufacturing medical equipment and research laboratory products and accessories. Since 1868, we have improved our clients' lab operations by offering reliable equipment and support for various sectors, including blood banks, medical and diagnostic laboratories and research facilities. 

Our extensive selection features various types of laboratory equipment, including our efficient, high-quality, UL/CSA/CE approved UV Crosslinker AH. Thanks to its unique adjustable height feature, two modes of operation, and large UV protective window, it provides safe, time-efficient solutions and more accurate results. Our UV Crosslinker AH comes in various voltage and lamp options to best suit your lab's needs.

Explore our range of specialized products and accessories for your laboratory today. Contact our team for any assistance or queries, and we'll be in touch promptly.

Learn More About The UV Crosslinker AH