Frequently Asked Questions


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General FAQ

How do I purchase CoolProducts for my lab?
You can buy your BioCision CoolProducts from a distributor wherever you are located. They can help you select the right products and support you as you implement them. Check out our current list of distributors Click here for a complete listing. We are adding distributors often. If you can’t find one in your locale, please contact us at [email protected]

FAQs:  CoolCell -1℃/min Cell Freezing Container

Why choose a CoolCell over an alcohol-filled cell freezing container?
CoolCell provides a reproducible and consistent -1℃/minute cell freezing rate when placed in a -80℃ freezer. The absence of alcohol means no variability in freezing profiles run-to-run. It also means no on-going expense, no keeping track of freeze cycles in order to replace the alcohol every five runs, no hazardous waste, no pre-cooling, no frozen-stuck lids, and no frosty fingers when removing it from the freezer.

What temperature do I use CoolCell with?
The CoolCell can be used in a -70℃ to -80℃ environment. This includes mechanical freezers at -70℃ to -80℃ and dry ice lockers (typically stable at -75℃). The CoolCell will freeze at -1℃ per minute under these conditions. CoolCell should not be used with liquid nitrogen vapor phase freezers because the contents will freeze much faster than -1℃ per minute when placed in a-150℃ environment.

Can I keep CoolCell in a -20C freezer rather than a -80C freezer?
The CoolCell is specifically designed to deliver a controlled -1°C/minute cell freeze rate in a -80°C freezer because most mammalian cell protocols recommend this method of cryopreservation to ensure high post-thaw cell viability and function.  We do not recommend you use it in a -20°C freezer as the cell freeze rate will be different than -1°C/minute (it will likely be slower).  However, you may want to do a test freeze with your specific cell line and then test post-thaw viability and function.

I don't have access to a freezer, can I use the CoolCell on dry ice?
Yes.  Please view our procedure on how to construct a dry ice locker for CoolCell use here

When transferring the frozen sample from CoolCell to archive storage, must the vials be put on dry ice instead of normal ice?
When removing the cryo-preserved (frozen) cells from the CoolCell it is imperative to transfer the cells as quickly as possible to liquid nitrogen for archival storage.  Prior to LN2 storage, we recommend keeping the cells on dry ice, which is also -78°C, in order to keep the cells cryogenically frozen.  Placing the frozen cells on regular ice will significantly warm the cells and reduce post-thaw viability and function.

Can I keep CoolCell in the -80°C freezer overnight and will it cause problems with the samples?

It is fine to keep the cells in the CoolCell in a -80°C freezer for weeks as long as the temperature is maintained. Many freezers are community property, however, and a lot of users will search through the freezer and leave the door open for several minutes at a time. This may cause temperature fluctuations that can reduce or eliminate cell viability. For this reason we recommend that the cells be transferred to the LN2 as soon as possible.

How fast will CoolCell warm up when removed from the freezer?
Just like an alcohol-filled container, the CoolCell cools down and warms up at 1°C per minute. When recovered from a -80℃ freezer, the samples will reach -50℃ in about 30 minutes. Opening either container and exposing the cryogenic vials to room temperature will warm them much faster (about 30℃ /min) so be careful to have a bed of dry ice in a pan (or a LN2-based CryoPod Carrier or equivalent) to immediately empty the samples onto when transferring from -80℃ to LN2 storage.

Can I freeze multiple CoolCells at the same time?
Yes. The CoolCell releases about one-third the amount of heat given off by an alcohol-filled container per sample. So, with the CoolCell, you can freeze 54 samples with the same heat load into the freezer as would be generated by 18 samples in an alcohol-filled container. This makes CoolCell ideal for batch production of multiple sample sets.

Can I freeze just a few tubes in the CoolCell, or should all wells be filled?
It is good practice to fill all 12 wells with the same size vials with equal fill volumes of freezing media. As the CoolCell is a passive device, changes in the payload will result in minor changes in the freezing profile. By using the same load each time, you will obtain superimposable freezing profiles and can be assured that you will obtain the same result each time. If you have already used the CoolCell with fewer than 12 vials and had successful results, then it is likely that if you set up the CoolCell the same way, you should get the same results. The CoolCell will provide highly reproducible results if set up the same way each time. Our CoolCell Filler Vials (or equivalent) may be used to fill empty wells and can be re-used.

How do I get fast recycle time with CoolCell?
While a closed CoolCell will protect samples below -50℃ for 30 minutes, an open, empty CoolCell can be recycled to room temperature in just minutes for the next freeze cycle. After emptying samples onto dry ice for transfer to LN2, remove the center solid thermal ballast ring from the CoolCell. The CoolCell insulator jacket and ballast will warm up in minutes because of their low thermal mass, while an alcohol-filled container will take hours to warm back up. Make sure the CoolCell is dry, replace the central ring, and the CoolCell is ready for the next freezing cycle.

Can CoolCell be used for production of large numbers of samples?
Yes, CoolCell is ideal for production of large numbers of samples. CoolCell’s fast recycle time allows for two freezing runs per shift and CoolCell can handle three times as many samples in the freezer per cycle (see above regarding freezing multiple CoolCells at once). This means that the production through-put using CoolCell can exceed an alcohol-container-based process by six-fold.

Is there a limit to the number of times the CoolCell can be used?
The CoolCell is designed for an unlimited number of duty cycles with no change in performance. The CoolCell is precision machined from high density polyethylene foam and both the housing and alloy core are built to last.

Currently I use chilled samples. Do I need to pre-cool the CoolCell?
Pre-cooling the CoolCell is not necessary. Unlike room-temperature alcohol filled containers that will re-warm chilled samples up to 12℃ even when placed immediately in the freezer, a room-temperature CoolCell will insulate iced samples below 5℃ peak temperature prior to onset of freezing.

Can I pre-cool CoolCell?
You can pre-cool CoolCell if you want, but unlike alcohol filled containers, an explosion-proof refrigerator is not necessary since no alcohol is present. Also, in side by side tests between an alcohol-filled container and CoolCell, with both containers pre-cooled to 4℃, the ice-temperature samples inserted into the CoolCell initiated freezing six minutes faster than those in the alcohol-filled container; another benefit of the absence of alcohol.

Why is reducing freezing time lag important?
The time it takes between placing samples into the freezer and the onset of fusion is called – freezing lag. Minimizing exposure time to Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) cryoprotectant solution before freezing is increasingly thought to be important for cell health. CoolCell’s low thermal mass reduces freezing lag time to less than one-half of the lag caused by alcohol-filled freezing containers and reduces exposure time to DMSO. For more information, see CoolCell PBMC Processing.

Does CoolCell accept internally and externally threaded cryovial containers?
Yes, CoolCell should accept any 1ml or 2ml cryovial. It doesn't matter if they are internally or externally threaded.

Does the solid state core ever need to be replaced?
The solid state core never needs to be replaced (unless it's lost).


Cleaning and maintainenance of CoolCell containers and other foam CoolProducts

How do I clean CoolCell?
CoolCell is a cross-linked closed-cell dense polyethylene foam. This makes it ideal for cleaning with aqueous detergents, alcohol, bleach, and acid/base viricide (such as Virkon S) solutions. Rinse with clear water after using cleaning solutions. The material has excellent resistance to fluid absorption and abrasion. Ensure sample bays and tubes are dry before a freezing cycle to prevent sticking. Do not autoclave.

Is there any routine maintenance necessary?
No. CoolCell is virtually maintenance free. Just ensure the units are completely dry prior to placing in the freezer. All wells of the CoolCell must be dry before inserting vials, to ensure easy vial removal once frozen.

Can I sterilize my foam CoolProducts? 
Our foam products can be sterilized by ethylene oxide (EO or EtO) or gamma radiation (Cobalt 60).

FAQs: ThawSTAR automated cell thawing system

How do I know my sample is thawed properly when it’s ejected?

The ThawSTAR System is optimized to thaw a standard 1.8 or 2.0 mL cryogenic vial with 1.0 mL volume almost to the point of complete thaw.  When the vial is ejected, a small “pea-size” ice crystal should be visible, and it should disappear within 10-20 seconds with very gentle agitation.  The temperature of the vial contents should be approximately 5-10 °C, ensuring that the cells are not subjected to thermal stress.  Note:  Viscous solutions, varying vial volumes, varying media formulations, and vial temperature at insertion may affect the time and appearance of the final thaw.  In some cases, an ice crystal may not be visible or may be larger than pea-size.  In the event of no ice crystal, this should be acceptable as long as the thaw cycle is within the normal time range of 2-3 minutes. If the ice crystal is larger than pea size, gently agitate or “flick” the vial until the ice crystal disappears.

What is the temperature inside the ThawSTAR™ Automated Cell Thawing System?

The thawing temperature of the system is designed to produce thermal profiles virtually identical to that seen when using a 37°C water bath thawing method.  

Does the airflow around the ThawSTAR Automated Cell Thawing System affect the thawing?

No, airflow from a laminar flow hood or air vent will not affect the temperature sensors inside the instrument or affect its operation.

Do you have a user manual for ThawSTAR Automated Cell Thawing System?

The ThawSTAR System Instructions for Use can be found at, or via an email request sent to [email protected] 

ThawSTAR Instrument Performance

Is there any data showing the temperature change of the liquid inside the vial when in the ThawSTAR System?

Yes, this thermal profile data can be found in the ThawSTAR Automated Cell Thawing System White Paper, available for download at

How does the ThawSTAR System address recrystallization concerns?  How can the ThawSTAR System avoid over or under thawing?

Recrystallization occurs when thawing is not performed quickly enough, allowing reformation of ice crystals in the cells.  The ThawSTAR System is engineered to deliver a fast, uniform, and reproducible thaw through its patent-pending adaptive sensing technology, which ensures a reproducible thermal profile.

How does the ThawSTAR System determine thaw time for each vial?

The ThawSTAR System determines thaw time based on the initial vial temperature, detected via patent-pending STAR™ technology.  Internal software algorithms ensure an appropriate thaw time to generate a consistent thaw profile.

What is the difference between percent cell recovery and percent cell viability as referred to in the ThawSTAR System White Paper?

Cell recovery is the number of viable cells post-thaw as a percentage of the pre-freeze viable cells.  Cell viability is measured on cells post-thaw using trypan blue exclusion on a hemocytometer. 

ThawSTAR Instrument Operation

Is it necessary to use the ThawSTAR™ Confirmation Vial prior to thawing each day?

ThawSTAR Confirmation Vials should be frozen and stored in a manner similar to the biospecimens that will be thawed in the ThawSTAR System.  It is recommended to thaw a ThawSTAR Confirmation Vial each time the ThawSTAR System is powered up for use to provide assurance before thawing valuable biospecimens.  For best practices, the use of a confirmation vial at the beginning and end of each thawing session provides assurance that the instrument was performing optimally during the thaw period, which may be recorded in lab notebooks or batch records.

ThawSTAR™ Automated Cell Thawing System is optimized for vials with a 1.0 mL fill volume.  What if I have more or less than 1.0 mL in my vial?

The instrument can accommodate slight volume variations around 1.0mL.  If your volumes are greater than +/- 0.1mL, we recommend running a test thaw prior to thawing your biospecimens.

What vials can be used in the ThawSTAR™ System?

The current ThawSTAR System is optimized for BioCision TruCool® Barcoded Cryogenic Vials (2.0 mL volume.  A list of vials from other manufacturers that have been tested and verified for instrument compatibility follows.  This system does not accommodate other cryogenic vial sizes or formats (e.g. 1.2 or 1.5 mL).



Item No.


TruCool® leak-proof cryogenic vials, 2.0 mL, external-thread cap, self-standing



TruCool® leak-proof cryogenic vials, 2.0 mL, external-thread cap, round bottom



TruCool® leak-proof cryogenic vials, 2.0 mL, internal-thread cap, self-standing



TruCool® leak-proof cryogenic vials, 2.0 mL, internal-thread cap, round bottom


Argos Technologies

PolarSafe cryogenic storage vial, 2.0 mL


Corning Inc.

Corning® cryogenic vials, 2.0 mL, external-thread


Greiner Bio-One

Cryo.s™ freezing tube, 2.0 mL, internal-thread



Nunc™ Biobanking and Cell Culture Cryogenic Tube



Nunc™ Biobanking and Cell Culture Cryogenic Tube



Most of my cryogenic vials have labels affixed to the vial exteriors.  Will this affect the ThawSTAR System’s temperature-sensing capability?

The ThawSTAR System can accommodate smooth labels up to 0.1 mm thick that do not cover more than the tube body’s cylindrical wall area. The ThawSTAR System is not designed to accommodate tubes with “flag” labels, tubes with labels extending beyond the bottom of the tube and/or onto the tube cap, or tubes with creased labels.

Can ThawSTAR™ System be used in a GMP environment?

ThawSTAR Automated Cell Thawing System is for research use only.  Users are advised to validate the use of ThawSTAR Automated Cell Thawing System in their own GMP processes and obtain the applicable certifications, licenses, registrations or other documentation needed to comply with their local and national regulations. 

What is the purpose of the mini USB port on the bottom of the ThawSTAR System?

The mini USB port is NOT for customer use.  It is for internal use only.  The Instructions for Use clearly state that customers should not use this port at any time. 

ThawSTAR Instrument Maintenance

How do I calibrate the ThawSTAR™ System?

While a water bath designed to hold water at a specified temperature can be calibrated to ensure the display and water temperature are in alignment, the manual process of thawing in a water bath is a dynamic situation and cannot be calibrated.  The ThawSTAR System utilizes integrated solid-state heating elements, STAR™ adaptive sensing technology, and other electronic and mechanical components.   During initial start up of the ThawSTAR System, a routine self-check verifies that the temperatures of the individual heating elements are within a specified range. If either or both elements are out of specification, an error code will appear on the front LED light display. While powered on, the system will continuously check that the heating elements are in alignment and within the specified range, and an error code will appear if not.  Upon restart, if the same error is encountered, the user should contact BioCision immediately for technical support.  

It is possible to monitor and assess the ThawSTAR thawing function as often as needed.  We recommend the use of a ThawSTAR™ Confirmation Vial (included with the ThawSTAR System) frozen under the same conditions as biospecimens to be thawed to evaluate and log unit thaw performance at least once daily before thawing biospecimens.  For best practices, we recommend logging the time to warm up upon initial start up sequence of the day, thawing time of ThawSTAR™ Confirmation Vial, vial lot number, vial expiration date, ambient room temperature, ambient humidity level, unit serial number, evaluation start time and date.  A confirmation vial can also be used in the evening to record batch end data, if desired.  Data should be gathered during the instrument validation period to establish normal ranges for an individual laboratory and then recorded and monitored. 

What maintenance is required for the ThawSTAR™ System?

If used according to the Instructions for Use, the system is engineered for reliable thawing throughout the 12-month warranty period and beyond. The care and cleaning of the system should be performed as specified in the Instructions for Use.  No additional maintenance is required.  Customers will have the option of separately purchasing “RapidCheck and PM” service that will require the customer to send the unit back to BioCision for this service.  Contact BioCision Customer Support for more details.

How do I clean the green opening on top of the ThawSTAR™ System?

The green vial opening can be cleaned using a soft swab or non-abrasive laboratory wipe moistened with 70% alcohol. Users are strongly advised not to insert any cleaning objects or solution past the vial opening.  Vials to be inserted into the ThawSTAR System should be capped tightly to prevent leaks and wiped with 70% alcohol (vial and cap exterior) before freezing. 

Can the ThawSTAR System be used in a hood? Can it be exposed to UV lights? 

The ThawSTAR System is ideal for use in the hood.  It has a small footprint and can be wiped down with alcohol for sanitization.  If the system will be subjected to prolonged UV exposure, it is recommended that the ThawSTAR System be covered with a light-resistant plastic bag or a large piece of unbroken foil when the unit is not in use.

What if I spill liquid into the ThawSTAR System?

It is strongly recommended that no liquid be put into the unit opening, however, the ThawSTAR System is designed to withstand very small amounts of moisture that may get inside (e.g. moisture from residual frost on frozen vial exterior, small amounts of alcohol that may be accidentally sprayed into the unit during sanitization). If liquid is spilled into the unit, the limited liability warranty may be compromised and we recommend contacting BioCision technical support as soon as possible for instructions on how to proceed.  

FAQs: CoolBox Ice-Free Cooling System

Can CoolBox be used for (snap)freezing?
Absolutely. CoolBox systems make ideal bench-top snap freezing systems when used with dry ice or liquid nitrogen (LN2). Simply place block, pellet or crushed dry ice in the CoolBox base about 2 - 3cm deep and place a CoolRack tube module directly on top of and in contact with the dry ice. It will take approximately 10 minutes for the CoolRack module to equilibrate to dry ice temperature. The CoolBox base will hold about 200cc of dry ice when the CoolRack is level with the top of the box. When the top of the CoolRack drops about 2cm below the rim it is time to refill. Dry ice freezing will last about 3 hours with the CoolBox lid off and up to 6 hours with the lid on. If using LN2, place a CoolRack module into the base of the CoolBox system. Be sure that the CoolRack module is small enough to allow about 2 - 3cm of space around it on all sides. Pour the LN2 over and around the CoolRack module at frequent intervals to keep the level approximately half way up the height of the CoolRack module. After approximately 10-15 minutes, temperature equilibrium will be reached. Replenish the LN2 as needed to prolong duration. Always follow all laboratory safety protocols for the use of liquid nitrogen.

Can CoolBox be used with liquid nitrogen?
Yes. The foam used to manufacture CoolBox systems is non-porous and compatible with liquid nitrogen. Always follow all laboratory safety procedures for the use of liquid nitrogen.

Cleaning and maintaining CoolProducts

How do I clean my CoolBox System?
The CoolBox base and lid is made from a cross-linked closed-cell dense polyethylene foam. This makes it ideal for cleaning with aqueous detergents, alcohol, bleach, and acid/base viricide (such as Virkon S) solutions. Rinse with clear water after using cleaning solutions. The material has excellent resistance to fluid absorption and abrasion. Do not autoclave.

Is there any routine maintenance necessary?
No. CoolBox systems are virtually maintenance free. 

Can I sterilize my foam CoolProducts? 
CoolBox Systems can be sterilized by ethylene oxide (EO or EtO) or gamma radiation (Cobalt 60).

FAQs: CoolRack / CoolSink / ThermalTray Thermo-conductive Modules

Are CoolRack / CoolSink / ThermalTray resistant to UV?
All CoolRack, CoolSink and ThermalTray modules are impervious to ultraviolet and other wavelengths of radiation.

Can CoolRack / CoolSink modules be placed directly onto a hot surface (such as a hot plate)  to achieve temperature transfer and maintain the temperature uniformly across the wells?
Yes, all the CoolRacks and CoolSink modules can be placed on a heated 37°C surface (such as a hot plate). The temperature will be evenly distributed across all wells and the modules provide an excellent set-up for inserting tubes in an organized, standardized way.  (Please note, if you require exactly 37°C it may be necessary to off-set the heat source one degree or so to keep the CoolRack at 37°C.  The CoolRack will be constantly finding the equilibrium between the heat source below it and the ambient air around it.)

How long will CoolRacks remain at temperature when removed from their source?
CoolRacks adapt rapidly to changing temperature conditions because of their excellent thermal conductivity. When a room temperature CoolRack is placed on ice the temperature of the CoolRack equilibrates to the ice temperature within minutes. Similarly, when removed from the ice, the CoolRack will equilibrate to the new temperature source with which it is placed into contact. If desired, this passive warming or cooling rate can be slowed by placing the rack on an insulated surface and avoiding direct contact with heat conductive materials.

How can I extend the time CoolRack stays at temperature.
Many CoolRack and CoolSink modules can be placed in a CoolBox insulated container for extended ice-free cooling (up to 16 hours) or for keeping samples frozen (up to 10 hours). Replaceable cooling or freezing cores allow continuous bench top ice-free cooling and freezing. When using CoolRack module(s) in ice, the use of a ThermalTray platform under the CoolRack module(s) provides a stable solid base that allows <4℃ cooling for up to 14 hours with one pan of ice.

Can CoolRacks be used for snap freezing?
Yes, all CoolRacks can be used in dry ice or LN2 for snap-freezing. For optimum freezing rates in 1.5ml conical microcentrifuge tubes, the CoolRack PF series offers a freeze rate equivalent to directly inserting tubes into a dry ice/alcohol slurry - and no alcohol is needed! All tubes will remain upright, organized and indexed. More importantly, standard deviation will be dramatically reduced as all tubes will exhibit identical snap-freezing profiles.

Can CoolRack / CoolSink / ThermalTray modules be used with Liquid Nitrogen?
Yes, all modules are excellent for use with LN2 and will keep samples at cryogenic temperature without liquid contact or tube immersion. Simply fill an appropriate insulated pan with about 2cm of LN2 and place a module in it. For extended LN2 work, use a deep insulated pan and place a ThermalTray SLP (or any ThermalTray) under the CoolRack(s) to provide a stable raised platform for easy visibility and access. Fill LN2 up to the table of the ThermalTray platform and replenish as needed to maintain this level. You can add and remove CoolRack modules without getting your thermal gloves immersed in LN2.  Remember to follow all safety precautions with LN2 - any surface at cryogenic temperatures can freeze skin on contact.

Cleaning and maintaining CoolRack modules

How do I clean CoolRack / CoolSink / ThermalTray modules?
All modules are hard-anodized and very corrosion resistant. The CoolRack may be cleaned with solvents, aqueous detergents, alcohols, and acid/base viricide (such as Virkon S) solutions. Rinse with clear water after using cleaning solutions. Avoid soaking the modules for extended periods (more than one hour) in low or high pH solutions. The modules is autoclavable and can be heat sterilized up to 250℃.

Can CoolRack / CoolSink / ThermalTray modules standup to sterilization by UV exposure?
All modules can withstand a high exposure to UV without damage to the surface. However, please do be aware that one would only get sterilization where the UV shines directly, so the deep wells in some of the CoolRack modules will be difficult to properly irradiate thus making sterilization of the entire depth of the well interior or under-surface a challenge. If sterility of the entire surface including the well interior surface is required, BioCision recommends heat sterilization (autoclave or oven bake).