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Non-Condensing Cooling Plate

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Laboratory Tools
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Non-Condensing Cooling Plate

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Device to maintain a cool and dry work surface

Cooling plates are common in the scientific environment. However, depending on the humidity of the environment, the cold surface of the cooling plate can cause moisture in the air to condense on the surface, thus interfering with certain tasks. For example, if using a cooling plate while sorting fruit flies, excess moisture on the plate may cause flies to drown.

Inventors at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus have designed a cooling plate that keeps the working surface completely dry and cool, independent of the working environment’s conditions. This is achieved by cooling/drying air and forcing it through a porous stainless steel plate. Instead of water condensing on top of the surface, water is allowed to condense inside the device (below the surface) and is forced out by air pressure through a drain. The airflow is gentle enough not to disturb the work surface but enough to prevent condensation.

Compressed lab air, a chilled water supply, and a peltier with a controller are required for this technology. The current configuration is designed for fruit fly sorting and thus has an integrated vial chiller to pre-chill the flies before they are sorted. The design can accommodate a variety of vial sizes via vial adapters. Builders can use various fittings, and the current design includes push-to-connect tubing, which is easy to install.


  • Variable temperature and airflow for control of your working conditions.
  • A removable mesh cover is washable or disposable for a continually clean work surface.
  • Cover can be various colors to contrast with small objects, such as fruit flies, under a microscope.


  • Life science research
  • Electronics
  • Pharmaceutical industry


Free to make for Non-Profit Research by downloading designs at Flintbox link to the right.

Rights and designs available for Commercial License.

For inquiries, please reference:

Janelia 2012-037

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Michael Perham
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