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System Components



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We thought outside of the box, and then we shrunk it.

Photomultiplier Tube (PMT) sensors have been the common light detection sensor in ATP systems since the 1980's. Unfortunately, this type of sensor is pricey, fragile, and drifts out of calibration every 2-3 years. High instrument costs combined with expensive test devices makes implementing an ATP program costly.

At Hygiena, we approached the issues surrounding an ATP system in a different way. By looking at all 3 components that make up an ATP system and introducing new state-of-the-art technology with patented designs and chemistry, we've created an ATP system that is smaller, more durable, and sensitive than all other systems on the market. Keep scrolling to see how we did it... 


ATP systems are made up of 3 critical components.

Instrument + Bioluminescence Chemistry + Test Device

These three parts come together to determine overall system performance. 

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1. Instrument Sensor

The instrument (luminometer) quantifies the bioluminescent reaction from the ATP test. A luminometer should see low levels of light, be user friendly, and durable to work in all types of environments. Historically and even today, luminometers have used Photomultiplier Tube (PMT) sensors to detect low levels of light. However, with advancements in technology, new solid-state Photodiodes (PD) now have the ability to detect similar low levels of light and offer lots of additional benefits over PMT.Hygiena instruments use advanced PD sensors and electronics, giving them the ability to detect lower levels of light than PMT based instruments. The chart below lists the pros and cons for each sensor.






Photomultiplier Tube (PMT)

Photodiode (PD)    


  • Sensitive to low levels of light
  • Detects multiple frequencies - suitable for bioluminescence and chemiluminescence



  • Fragile
  • Large, heavy
  • Requires high voltage 
  • Drifts out of calibration
  • Requires yearly or bi-annual maintenance
  • Impacted by magnetic fields (e.g., manufacturing equipment)
  • Expensive
  • Unstable



  • Robust
  • Small, light
  • Requires low voltage (<5 volts)
  • Stays in calibration
  • Does not require yearly maintenance (cost savings)
  • Low cost
  • Solid state 

  • Detects limited frequencies - suitable for bioluminescence only
  • Slightly less sensitive than PMT sensors

2. Bioluminescence Chemistry

Chemistry in test devices is also a critical element of system performance, as it facilitates the bioluminescent reaction that is measured by the instrument. The more reliable the chemistry, the more reliable the results. Two types of chemistry on the market are lyophilized chemistry and liquid-stable chemistry.



Lyophilization has historically been the technology used to stabilize enzymes prior to use. Water is quickly evaporated out of the sample, leaving a pellet that can be reconstituted with a liquid. The pellet requires complex, expensive manufacturing, dry storage, and rehydration at point of use that causes larger variability from test to test.



 Liquid-stable chemistry eliminates the need for lyophilization and stabilizes the enzymes in a liquid format. This eliminates costly manufacturing steps and reconstitution of the enzyme giving more reproducible results and better accuracy. Fewer manufacturing steps also reduces test costs. 

3. Test Device

The final element of system performance is the test device. Superior device design will have excellent sample collection and recovery, low background signal, and ease of use.Hygiena's test design maximizes sample collection and recovery while using patented Snap-Valve™ technology to make activation easy. Our devices eliminate extraneous materials, improve efficiency, minimize variability, and lower costs. Learn more about the differences between Hygiena's swab design and the others.


Putting it all together

In summary, overall system performance depends on the convergence of three elements: the instrument sensor, bioluminescent chemistry, and test device design. For more information about system performance, or any individual component, contact us.   



Still not convinced?

See what one of the largest studies of ATP systems by a third party reference laboratory had to say about system performance. 

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