Milestone UltraWAVE microwave digestion system

The UltraWAVE features Milestone’s patented single chamber reaction (SRC) technology in a fully automated benchtop package. Through advanced design and engineering, Milestone has been able to reduce the size of SRC technology, resulting in a small benchtop unit that can fit in even the smallest lab. The UltraWAVE digests up to 26 samples – of any matrix – simultaneously. With SRC, all samples are in the same vessel so any combination of sample types with different acid chemistries can be digested at the same time and there is no need to batch samples of the same type into separate runs. Simply weigh the sample into a glass vial, add acid and place into the sample rack.The UltraWAVE is perfect for laboratories that have multiple sample types to digest, or simply want the convenience of SRC technology. The superior digestion quality and minimal blank contribution of SRC makes the UltraWAVE an ideal complement to ICP-MS and AA


  • Any combination of sample type and weight with different acids in a single run with no method development
  • High pressure and temperature reactor up to 199 bar and 300°C ensuring complete digestion
  • Use of HCl in all racks without need of special vials or caps or additional preparation stages
  • Less acid used per sample (typical 2 – 4ml) and higher sample weights (up to 1.5g)
  • Up to 26 samples per batch without the need for capping or uncapping with 35 minute total run time
  • Standard laboratory sample tubes can be used such as ICP autosampler vials.
  • Identical temperature and pressure conditions for all samples. with no cross-contamination
  • Automatic opening/closing of the pressure vessel with built in exhaust of solvent and acid vapours
  • Disposable vessel option eliminates cleaning of vessels
  • Advanced integrated terminal with user friendly software and full GLP documentation

Convenient, user-centric design

Microwave digestion system schematicThe UltraWAVE microwave digestion system is a small unit that fits on any benchtop. The cabinet is all stainless steel and the work area is surrounded by a thick acrylic screen that raises and lowers automatically with the top of the SRC chamber. The screen has side doors that allow the operator access to fasten and release the chamber clamp. Interlocks prevent operation unless the chamber clamp is in position and secured. The chamber is 1 litre capacity, manufactured from solid stainless steel, cooled by a water jacket, and fitted with a PTFE liner. The 1500w microwave power source is located at the base of the chamber, and optimised for even distribution of microwave energy. The SRC chamber is fitted with a transducer type direct pressure sensor and a thermocouple type temperature sensor that means that every sample is under direct pressure and temperature control, giving unmatched control of the digestion process. Sample racks are available in several and mixed sizes including the standard 15 position rack that holds 15x15mL vials (glass, quartz or TFM).

Principles of operation

UltraWAVE disposable vials for acid digestionSRC operation is extremely simple and completely automated from start to finish. A simple sample rack, similar to a rotary autosampler rack, is loaded with samples weighed into glass vials and the digestion acid added. The vials are capped with loose fitting PTFE caps. The rack is fitted to the chamber top that is lowered automatically into the chamber. The sample vials sit in liquid that provides a consistent “load” for the delivered microwave energy. This ensures even heating and consistent conditions from run to run. The chamber clamp is secured and the chamber pressurised with nitrogen (40 bar). This prevents boiling of samples as the run starts and essentially acts as a “cover” over the samples, eliminating any possibility of cross contamination. The microwave program starts and all samples are digested under the same conditions. When the heating cycle stops, water cooling rapidly cools the chamber to ambient temperature providing a total run time of 35 minutes.The pressure is released, the chamber is opened and acid fumes are extracted away from the operator. The rack is then simply removed, the samples are made up to volume, and are ready for analysis.

 Digestion vials and racks

UltraWAVE sample tube racks for acid digestionThe UltraWAVE racks include 4, 5, 8, 15, 19, 22 and 26 position and mixed size configurations. Vials are available in TFM, quartz or disposable glass and are fitted with loose TFM caps to ensure pressure equalisation even when using HCl. Unlike conventional microwave digestion systems, no vessel assembly or disassembly is required. The use of disposable glass vials eliminates the cleaning step that further enhances the laboratory workflow. The fast assembly of the vials coupled with the automatic closing and opening cut the handling time thereby reducing the labour cost up to 50%.


UltraWAVE productivity comparison

Typical sample turnaround time (number of samples in 8 hours).

Compared to any other conventional microwave digestion systems, the UltraWAVE is significantly easier to use, thus dramatically improving the laboratory work flow. Up to 26 samples are processed in 45 minutes start to finish that increases sample throughput for the laboratory.
All samples are processed in a single run at the same temperature and pressure, eliminating the need to run multiple digestion cycles for different samples or matrices. The use of disposable glass vials eliminates the cleaning step, further enhancing the UltraWAVE productivity.


User interface

The UltraWAVE is operated via a full-colour touch screen display that provides automatic real-time monitoring and feedback-based control at 20 times per second and adjusts power to match the sample load. The reaction is therefore controlled throughout the run, for example reducing power instantly should an exothermic reaction occur. The same method is used for all samples, all methods and runs are saved. USB and PC card ports are provided for method and data file transfer via memory stick or PC card and Milestone’s EasyDOC Windows-based software enables export of run data to a spreadsheet.

Milestone Connect

Remote laboratory monitoring app for microwave digestion systemIncluded with the UltraWAVE is a unique web based application – Milestone Connect.  The app provides up to date information and extended instrument monitoring from outside the laboratory of the digestion run that ultimately helps to provide high quality sample preparation. The app works on various external devices such as PC, tablets or smartphones. The integral database includes specific and detailed information on the installed equipment (list of parts, technical notes, user manual, video tutorials, etc), continuously updated application notes, a library of available scientific articles published in scientific magazines, and a help-on-line section that provides instant support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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