Flash luminescence is the result of a chemical or biochemical reaction, triggered by a rapid injection of a catalyst into the microplate well immediately prior to detection. Flash reactions typically require a rapid dispense and measure sequence on a well-by-well basis, so injectors must be in very close proximity to the well being measured. A typical luminescence optical system consists of a light-tight reading chamber and a PMT detector. Some plate readers offer filter wheel or tunable wavelength monochromator optical systems for selecting specific luminescent wavelengths.
The ability to select multiple wavelengths allows for detection of assays that contain multiple luminescent reporters, the development of new luminescence assays, as well as a means to optimize signal to noise.
Common applications include luciferase -based gene expression assays, as well as cell viability, cytotoxicity, and biorhythm assays based on the luminescent detection of ATP.