Which plates should I choose for fluorescence and luminescence measurements?


Black or white, clear- or opaque-bottomed, there is a wide selection of multi-well plates available. This article briefly explains the differences so you can choose the plates that best fit your assay needs.


Opaque-walled 96- or 384-well tissue culture plates are available as white or black with solid bottoms and white or black with clear bottoms. The clear bottom plates offer the advantage of being able to examine the cells by microscopy during the course of the experiment.

Primary Differences

The primary difference between white and black plates is their reflective properties.

For luminescent assays, white plates reflect light and will maximize light output signal.

For fluorescent assays, black plates absorb light and reduce background and crosstalk.

For multiplexed luminescent and fluorescent assays, using a white plate will support maximum light output signal for the luminescent portion of the assay, but result in higher crosstalk and background for the fluorescent portion of the assay. Using a black plate in a multiplex assay will reduce fluorescent signal crosstalk and background, but will reduce the luminescence signal (you can expect to lose about 1 order of magnitude in luminescent signal using a black plate).

Plate Suggestions

If you are looking for specific plates to use, suggestions for 96-well plates are listed below:

White Plates, Solid Bottom

  • Corning® Costar plate (Cat.# 3917)
  • Greiner Bio-One CELLSTAR plate (Cat.# 655073)

White Plates, Clear Bottom

  • Corning® Costar plate (Cat.# 3610)
  • Greiner Bio-One CELLSTAR plate (Cat.# 655088)

Black Plates, Solid Bottom

  • Corning® Costar plate (Cat.# 3916)
  • Greiner Bio-One CELLSTAR plate (Cat.# 655079)
  • Nunc™ F96 MicroWell™ Plate (Cat.# 137101)

Black Plates, Clear Bottom

  • Corning® Costar plate (Cat.# 3904)
  • Greiner Bio-One CELLSTAR plate (Cat.# 655087)

Need a Microplate Reader?

GloMax® Microplate Readers have the highest sensitivity and lowest crosstalk for luminescence measurements.
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Costar is a registered trademark of Corning, Inc. MicroWell and Nunc are trademarks of Nalge Nunc International. Optilux is a trademark of Becton, Dickinson and Company.

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