Microplate reader software

German engineered hardware is only one part of a great microplate reader - the software that runs the instrument and analyses the data is the other. BMG LABTECH's comprehensive software package provides all the tools needed to both effectively acquire and analyse data, with flexible data export and integration capabilities.

The software package is included with every reader and consists of Reader Control and data analysis interfaces. Our multi-user software can be installed on as many computers as the user requires, without the need to purchase additional licenses, and is conceived to meet the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 guidelines.

Reader Control

The Reader Control software is an intuitive and easy-to-understand user interface to effortlessly define measurement protocols and acquire data. The Reader Control is an extremely versatile interface for the straightforward execution of routine tasks, as well as the optimisation of more complex operations.

For the VANTAstar and CLARIOstar Plus plate readers, BMG LABTECH also offers the newly released Voyager interface. Voyager is an intuitive ‘drag & drop’ system that simplifies data acquisition.

Ready to run with predefined protocols

The Reader Control comes with more than 30 predefined detection protocols already installed, enabling quick and easy access to the most commonly used applications. Existing protocols can be modified, or new protocols can be created, depending on the user's needs.

Predefined protocols include DNA/RNA concentration, protein concentration (Lowry, Bradford, BCA), ELISAs, cell growth, NADH/NAD+ conversion, DLRTM, ADP-Glo®, LanthaScreen®, HTRF® cAMP and IP-One, LANCE®, AlphaScreen®, AlphaLISA®, Transcreener®, calcium assays (FLuo3/4/8), GeneBLAzer®, PathHunter®, Picogreen®, GFP, and CFP-YFP.

Predefined protocols
Spectral scanning and multiple well scanning modes

Full flexibility for complex tasks

The Reader Control supports endpoint and kinetic detection, sequential and simultaneous multi-detection, spectral scanning and multiple well scanning modes. In addition, it controls reagent injectors, gas (O2 and CO2) and temperature, as well as shaking. A script wizard allows for the multiplexing of different measurement protocols and more complex operations.

Data analysis and export

Once generated, data can be either analysed with the included MARS data analysis software or exported with one click as Excel®, Absolute Database or ASCII formats. ActiveX, DDE and SiLA interfaces guarantee an easy integration into LIMS systems.


Key features of Reader Control Software

  • Interface to run the instrument and acquire data
  • More than 30 predefined assay protocols
  • Quick-start button to get started quickly
  • Real-time data display during measurement
  • Endpoint and kinetic detection
  • Sequential and simultaneous multi-detection
  • Spectral scanning (absorbance, fluorescence, luminescence)
  • One-click top/bottom reading switch
  • Multiple well-scanning options for heterogeneous sample measurement
  • Controls injectors, gas, temperature and shaking
  • Automatic data transfer to MARS data analysis software
  • Data export to Excel, Absolute Database, or ASCII format
  • ActiveX, DDE and SiLA interfaces for easy integration into LIMS systems
  • ActiveX or DDE control for robotic integration

MARS Data Analysis Software

MARS is our intuitive data analysis software package, offering multiple data reduction possibilities. This interface is included with every BMG LABTECH reader and can be installed on as many computers as the user requires without the need to purchase additional licenses.

Comprehensive data analysis package

MARS is designed to make microplate reader data analysis simple and effective by displaying, extracting, and exporting information to make data reduction as effortless as possible.

Fig. 3: The MARS data analysis software can display values and curves in multiple ways.

Explore your data to make informed decision

There are various ways to explore your data in MARS. The microplate view with numerical, graphical and heat map data representation capabilities allows for a quick overview of the data. Additionally, signal curves, bar charts, scatter-, box- or violin plots allow for graphical representation and first inferential analyses. The table view allows to categorize and sort the data but also to view, print and export it in its preferred format.

Fig. 4: Data displayed as violin plots.
Fig. 5: Kinetic anisotropy curves.
Fig. 6: Parallel line analysis of dose-response curves.
Fig. 7: Data displayed as bar charts.
Fig. 8: 3D excitation/emission scan: emission wavelength (X axis), fluorescence intensity (Y axis) and excitation wavelength (Z axis).
Fig. 9: 2D excitation/emission scan: emission wavelength (X axis) and excitation wavelength (Y axis). Signal intensity is depicted as colour from low (blue) to high (red).

Determine sample concentrations with ease

Whether interpolating a standard curve to get unknown sample concentrations or modelling a biological system, MARS offers various fit and interpolation models including polynomial, 4P- / 5P or user-defined fit models. Curve interpolation and fitting is simplified by MARS’ unique curve fit wizard.

Fig. 10: Standard curve calculation wizard.
Fig. 11: Calculation templates can be linked to specific detection protocols.

Automate your analysis workflows 

To simplify data reduction after measurement, complex and assay-specific analyses and calculations can be created and saved in MARS as calculation templates. Templates can be linked to specific detection protocols, enabling data generation and analysis with just two mouse clicks. Templates can be exported to be shared with other MARS users and guarantee analysis and result conformity.

Well mapping to check for sample homogeneity

Insoluble particles like cells or aggregates typically do not evenly distribute across the well. Matrix scanning, a key feature on BMG LABTECH readers, scans a whole well creating a matrix with up to 900 points/well resolution. In MARS, the different data points can be analysed separately or as clusters. Data can also be displayed as a 3D well map. This feature can also be used to view kinetic absorbance data three dimensionally.

Fig. 12: example of 3D well mapping.
Fig. 13: example of enzymatic analysis.

Enzymatic analysis made easy 

MARS can instantly analyse enzyme activity data to determine enzymatic constants such as Km and Vmax by fitting to various models like Michaelis-Menten, Lineweaver-Burk, Eadie-Hofstee, Hanes-Woolf and Scatchard plot. This software feature, when used in conjunction with BMG LABTECH's high speed UV/vis spectrometer, will revolutionize microplate based enzyme kinetics.

Advanced fittings for binding assays 

Binding kinetics as equilibrium or real-time interaction assays require advanced curve fitting capabilities and models. MARS offers various fit models including models for association, dissociation and competitive inhibition assays that are often used for compound screening of even low-affinity compounds. 

Fig. 14: Dopamine D2 Receptor Association Rate
Fig. 15: Standard curve calculation PLA

Parallel-line and dose-response curve analysis

Compare different drugs based on their EC50 / ECX values or estimate their relative potency using MARS’ ‘Parallel-line Analysis’ and ‘Standard Curve Calculation’ feature. The ‘Parallel-line Analysis’ feature offers global fitting followed by ANOVA-like analysis and equivalence testing (suggested by the US Pharmacopeia) to test for bioequivalence. MARS offers different fit models including linear, 4P- and 5P-models. Even more fit models are available with MARS’ ‘Standard Curve Calculation’ feature

Key features of MARS Data Analysis Software

  • Automated one-click assay analysis
  • Display data in bar charts, box plots, violin plots etc.
  • Background and baseline removal
  • UV/vis spectral view and analysis
  • Signal interpolation using linear or cubic spline interpolation
  • Noise removal by signal smoothing using moving averages or other methods
  • Various curve fit models including linear, 4- / 5-parameter, polynomial and user-defined fit models
  • EC50 and ECX calculation including their confidence intervals
  • Automatic DNA/RNA concentration determination.
  • Advanced outlier identification (Grubbs-test, Dixon-Test etc.) including outlying kinetic curve identification
  • Enzyme kinetic analysis using various models (e.g. Michaelis-Menten fit)
  • Determine binding rates and binding constants using simple and advanced binding kinetic fit models
  • Compare different groups by ANOVA, Student’s t-test, or multiple comparisons
  • Relative potency calculation using parallel-line analysis (PLA)
  • Design your own calculations / analyses using the user-defined formula generator
  • Evaluate assay performance using Z-Prime, Delta F% for HTRF, Signal-to-Blank, Signal-to-Noise, CV, etc. 
  • 3D well-mapping, e.g., to find sample inhomogeneities
  • Excel-, ASCII- and graphic export (in bitmap or vector graphic format)
  • FDA 21 CFR part 11 compliant
  • Customizable print report
  • Comprehensive documentation

Current Software versions

We constantly improve our software to provide you with more flexibility and capabilities. BMG LABTECH software upgrades are free of charge during the warranty period or the instrument. Contact your local BMG LABTECH representative to update your software.

Reader software Installation Version Reader Control Firmware MARS Release date
PHERAstar FSX V5.70 Edition 8 V5.70 R6 V1.33 V4.01 R2 20.05.2022
CLARIOstar Plus V6.20 Edition 3 V6.20 V1.35 / V2.04*1 V4.20 23.02.2023
VANTAstar V6.20 Edition 3 V6.20 V1.01 V4.20 23.02.2023
Omega series V6.20 Edition 3 V6.20 V1.53 / V2.02*2 V5.01 13.12.2023
SPECTROstar Nano V6.20 V6.20 V1.21 / V2.00*3 V4.20 14.02.2023
NEPHELOstar Plus V6.20 Edition 2 V6.20 V1.51 V5.01 26.10.2023
CLARIOstar V6.20 Edition 3 V6.20 V1.35 V4.20 23.02.2023
PHERAstar V5.70 Edition 8 V5.70 R6 V1.42 V4.01 R2 20.05.2022
PHERAstar Plus V5.70 Edition 8 V5.70 R6 V1.42 V4.01 R2 20.05.2022
PHERAstar FS V5.70 Edition 8 V5.70 R6 V1.33 V4.01 R2 20.05.2022
OPTIMA series V2.20 R14 V2.20 R2 V1.26 V3.01 R2 20.12.2013
NOVOstar V1.30 R9 V1.30 V1.22 V2.41 06.11.2012
V4.32 R9 V4.32 V3.07 V2.41 06.11.2012

*1 Compatible from serial number 430-4001
*2 Compatible from serial number 415-5001
*3 Compatible from serial number 601-3001


Minimum system requirements

  • Computer with Microsoft Windows 7 / 8 / 10 / 11 and more than 2 GHz clock rate
  • 1GB or more RAM
  • 2GB free hard disk memory for software installation
  • Minimum screen resolution 1280 x 900 pixels
  • One free USB port (One free serial communication port for older readers)
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