Projects Clients Products Contact

Cryogenic Storage Management Applications (Freezers)


Hospitals store various samples of tissues under cryogenic conditions for further analysis, tests or research. There may be tens of thousands of such samples stored in a liquid nitrogen freezer.

Taking a sample out of the freezer must be done quickly, with high precision and extreme care. Special gloves must be worn, and it’s not recommended to open and close the freezer too often. Any body part touched by liquid nitrogen will be destroyed and lost.

The freezers are built in a thick stainless steel enclosure and are organized in towers and boxes. Each box can hold a number of vials (eg. 100), each tower has a number of boxes (eg. 20) and each freezer contains a number of towers (eg. 20).

These tough conditions almost impose the requirement of managing the contents of such freezers on the computer.

Such computer programs must meet the following requirements:

  • very efficient handling tens of thousands of vials
  • very efficient and flexible searching
  • handle various types of boxes, towers and freezers
  • graphically represent boxes of various shapes (triangular, square/rectangular, circular, etc.)
  • identify with precision the place in a box of a sought sample
  • group samples by various research criteria (like common orgin, common medical condition, common treatment, etc.)
  • very quick user interface (users don’t like to wait forever until a box is drawn on the screen)

Our software allows easy management of vials stored under cryogenic temperatures in hospital labs and meets all the above requirements plus more:

  • Smart rendering algorithms allow us to draw a freezer box almost instantly (see box layout screen image in the right sidebar)
  • Smart database storage and indexing techniques allow us to find a vial out a million in a few seconds
  • Intuitive user interface brings the learning curve down to less than 2 hours
  • With our powerful searching feature finding homozygotes or heterozygotes among millions of vials is a snap (see search screen image in the right sidebar)

How it works

The system has no knowledge at the beginning of any freezer. The user enters each freezer’s parameters: name, location, number of towers, boxes, vials per box, box shape, shape parameters, etc.

Once a freezer is in the system, the user can enter/modify vials on a box by box basis. For data that needs to be transferred from other systems, we can easily develop import routines using the powerful DTS (Data Transformation Services) feature of the underlying database server.

The user can then search for a vial based on diagnosis, source/patient, other conditions. Homo/hetero-zygotes can be easily identified as well.

Entering data and finding a vial is very intuitive. Grouping by source, patient relatives, medical condition or related conditions can be done.

A graphical tree view of the freezers in an organization, of the towers and boxes in each freezer allow the user to easily navigate through the huge amount of information stored on the system.

A rich reporting engine allows the user to print reports at pretty much every step. Box layouts, lists of common conditions, samples of the same type, etc. can be generated with a mouse click.

The freezer information is stored in a SQL Server database for speed and reliability. For small sites an SQL engine can be supplied free of charge.

The system has been successfully implemented at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide with very good results and increased staff satisfaction by orders of magnitude.

We don't write our software, we craft it!


Women's and Children's Hospital.

Liquid Nitrogen Freezer

Main Screen
with freezer tree view

Multi-criteria search screen
with home/hetero-zygote search

Freezer box layout with
vial position (multi-shape)

Copyright © 2004-2009 Better Software Pty Ltd