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Self-Sterilizing Loop (SSL)

The Self-Sterilizing Loop (SSL) is a handheld, rechargeable battery-powered device designed for aseptic work with C. elegans, bacteria, yeast, and other organisms.  Pressing the button causes an electrical current to be passed through a wire loop, heating it to about 800 ºC within seconds.  The SSL can serve as a replacement for worm picks, inoculating loops, and other tools normally sterilized in an open flame.  


In addition to the safety benefits of eliminating the need for an open flame, the SSL also improves productivity by allowing you to stay visually focused on your task.  This is particularly helpful when working under a microscope.

The SSL design has undergone several rounds of testing and optimization in C. elegans labs over more than 2 years.  Each device undergoes manual and automated quality control testing before shipping.  

Important product information

Please ensure that all users have carefully read the important safety information and instruction manual before operating the SSL. Purchasers should also review our product terms and warranty.

Loop material selection

We offer two types of loop: a platinum-iridium (PtIr) loop and an iron-chromium-aluminum (FeCrAl) ​loop. Each has advantages and disadvantages, which are compared below.  Our starter kit includes one of each type so you can decide which is better for you. 

Our platinum-iridium (PtIr) loops are longer, more flexible, cool faster, and do not discolor under normal use.  Platinum-iridium is a traditional material for worm picks.


Our FeCrAl loops are shorter, somewhat stiffer, and more economical, but cool more slowly and may show discoloration due to formation of a dull oxide layer after several heating cycles. This oxide layer is stable, does not grow or shed over time, and does not affect device performance.

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