TFS Vitrobot Mark IV

Category: Sample preparation
Sub-category: Cryogenic work

Plunge freezing and instrument certification for Vitrobot Mark IV.


The cryogen safety and handling merit badge is a prerequisite to obtaining this merit badge.


Relevant Training Modules (to review until you can pass the knowledge test):

SOP for Vitrobot use (for review before demonstration)

Digital version of the full SOP

Printable version of the full SOP

Vendor product information for reference

A pass/fail assessment

The knowledge assessment will test understanding of the following concepts:

  • Why Ethane is used (and boiling/melting points of ethane/LN2)
  • Safety considerations for cryogens/required PPE
  • Why formation of vitreous ice is required
  • How ice thickness affects data quality
  • The reasons for humidity and temperature control
  • ID parts of the instrument

Here is the current quiz draft:

Take the Vitrobot Quiz

Each center has specific Safety, Setup, and Shutdown procedures.  Below, you will find reference documents for each center.

Vitrification Demonstration

While the centers are under COVID-19 related restrictions, on-site demonstrations are on hold.  In the meantime, please watch the video below.

When users are allowed on-site, a workflow demonstration should be scheduled with center staff. The demonstration will cover all points of the SOP.

Supervised Practice with the Vitrobot

While COVID-19 restrictions are in place, practicing freezing can be difficult to come by.  In lieu of on-site practice, utilize the latest Virtual Reality technology and practice vitrification from the comfort of your own home with CryoVR from Purdue.  No need to worry about lab safety!

When users are back in the lab at the centers, schedule your supervised practice with the user office or appointed user coordinator. This can be scheduled during the same session as the demonstration. During supervised practice, center staff will be present the full session to provide feedback and answer questions with the goal that you can pass the practical test for independence with no assistance. The number of supervised practice sessions will be tailored to the user, and if necessary, more than one session can be scheduled before taking the practical test.

Center staff will assist in arranging time for access to the necessary equipment and testing for independence. The practical test can not be scheduled during the same session as supervised practice.

A Vitrobot independence checklist will be used by the certifying staff to test for proper use of the instrument with a pass/fail outcome. All steps on the checklist must be performed to pass. You may use any instructions normally posted as a guide during the session.

There is also an evaluator version of the checklist for more extensive training.

Recertification period

  • Sample preparation merit badges are valid for 1 yr.
  • Recertification (to maintain active status) requires passing only the practical test again with one center staff member. If supervised training is needed to pass the practical test, this can be arranged.