OptoPlates: Programmable LED Devices for Tunable Illumination of Tissue Culture Plates

Tech ID: 25845 / UC Case 2016-149-0

Invention Novelty

A programmable, standalone LED array that unlocks new potential for both real-time activation of proteins and visualization of cells during high-throughput screening. This device can be used in such advanced research techniques as optogenetic activation, photoconversion, photobiology, and drug screening.

Value Proposition

Currently, there is no product on the market that allows for high throughput, user-defined multi-color illumination of cells compatible with standard cell culture. The need for this technology is only increasing due to emerging fields such as optogenetics. Our technology allows for illumination of individual wells of standard multiwell plates with up to three distinct LED colors that can be programmed for specific intensities and timing. 

Additional advantages of this invention include:

  • Adapters for both 96 and 384 well plate
  • Designed to prevent bleedthrough in cell culture plates through novel use of 3D printed adapters
  • Low profile, amenable for other applications like simultaneous stimulation and imaging under a microscope as well as cell culture
  • Onboard memory, so no need for cables

Technology Description

Researchers at University of California, San Francisco have developed a thin, fully programmable LED array that can be used in such advanced research needs as optogenetic activation, photoconversion, photobiology, and drug screening. This array can simultaneously illuminate up to 96 channels for 96- and 384-well plate illumination, and each channel can be configured for specific intensities and timing of up to 3-color illumination. The LED array is powered by a microcontroller with custom scripts, and has onboard memory allowing for cable-free use.

Looking for Partners

Currently, we are looking to partner with research device companies and microscopy companies to integrate and develop this technology for high-throughput optogenetic tools in any plate-based cellular assay.

Stage of Development

A fully functional prototype is available for demo.

Data Availability

Available under NDA/CDA

Patent Status

Patent Pending

Related Materials

  • Not available at this time


Learn About UC TechAlerts - Save Searches and receive new technology matches


  • Bugaj, Lukasz
  • Lim, Wendell A.

Other Information


Microscopy, Cell Culture, Optogenetics, LED, Drug Screen, Photobiology

Categorized As