The purpose of the present project is to implement a new RFID tagging system for rapid identification of vials in biorepositories. It is based on the PharmaSeq laser light- activated microtransponder, which is also known as a p-Chip. Its main advantages are its small size, low cost, inertness (silica-based), and durability under extremes of temperature. P-Chips have been shown to be viable and easy to read under conditions, such as the presence of frost, where traditional bar code labels fail due to problems related to interference or adhesive failure. Determining the serial ID numbers of p-Chips imbedded in the walls of vials is done with a dedicated reader that can be configured in several ways. The software associates a particular vial ID with a database to determine the provenance of the sample. Reading is extremely rapid giving the opportunity to maintain (or be close to) the storage temperature during polling. The main goals of this project are to: (1) design and optimize the process for embedding p-Chips in one or more types of sample vials for use at varying storage temperatures;(2) modify the existing p-Chip/reader system for use with vials, including designing and implementing bench-top readers that can either poll single vials or entire racks of vials;(3) improve key features of the p-Chips themselves for very low temperature conditions;(4) provide software routines that are compatible with existing enterprise systems for biorepositories;and (5) to validate the system with several collaborators. Successful completion of this work will result in a method and standard operating procedures that will improve sample storage techniques and provide more reliable samples to the biomedical research community.
Biorepositories play an important role in basic and applied biological and medical research. A key issue for many researchers is the availability of high quality tissue, cell, and other types of samples whose identify is well characterized, and not compromised. The new electronic identification system has the potential to greatly increase the use of RFID technology in sample storage and to help to maintain sample identity and integrity.