Direct vs. Indirect Sonication Methods

DIRECT Sonication (inserting a probe directly into a sample vessel) is the most common way to process a sample. Energy is transmitted from the probe directly into the sample with high intensity and the sample is processed quickly.

The diameter of the probe’s tip dictates the liquid volume that can be effectively processed. Smaller tip diameters (Microtip probes) deliver high intensity sonication and the energy is focused within a small, concentrated area. Larger tip diameters can process larger volumes, but offer lower intensity. Boosters and High Gain horns can be used to increase the output of large diameter probes. Probes are offered with either replaceable or solid tips and are made from titanium.

INDIRECT Sonication eliminates the need for a probe to come in contact with your sample. This technique is often described as a high intensity ultrasonic bath. The ultrasonic energy is transmitted from the horn, up through the water and into a vessel or multiple sample tubes.

Indirect sonication is most effective for very small samples because foaming and sample loss are eliminated. Pathogenic or sterile samples are ideal for this method because aerosols and cross contamination are prevented. The Cup Horn and Microplate Horn deliver indirect sonication and are ideal for many high throughput applications.