Aliquots can be generated from samples using LabKey Biologics and Sample Manager. As for all samples, each aliquot must have a unique sample ID (name). A custom Aliquot Naming Pattern can be included in the definition of a Sample Type. If none is provided, the default is the name of the sample it was aliquoted from, followed by a dash and counter.

Aliquot Naming Patterns

To set a naming pattern, open your Sample Type design within LabKey Biologics or Sample Manager. This option cannot be seen or set from the LabKey Server interface.

As with Sample Naming Patterns, your Aliquot Naming Pattern can incorporate strings, values from other columns, different separators, etc. provided that your aliquots always will have unique names. It is best practice to always include the AliquotedFrom column, i.e. the name of the parent sample, but this is not strictly required by the system.

Aliquot Pattern Validation

During pattern creation, aliquot naming patterns will be validated, giving the admin an opportunity to catch any syntax errors. Users will be able to see the pattern and an example name during aliquot creation and when viewing sample type details. Learn more in this topic:

withCounter Syntax

Using nested substitution syntax, you can include a counter specific to the value in the AliquotedFrom column (the originating Sample ID). These counters will guarantee unique values, i.e. will skip a count if a sample already exists using that name, giving you a reliable way to create unique and clear aliquot names.

Prefix the :withCounter portion with the expression that should be evaluated first, then surround the entire expression with ${ } brackets. Like sample naming patterns, the base pattern may incorporate strings, and other tokens to generate the desired final aliquot name.

The following are some examples of typical aliquot naming patterns using withCounter. Learn more in this topic: Sample Naming Patterns

Dash Count / Default Pattern

By default, the name of the aliquot will use the name of its parent sample followed by a dash and a counter for that parent’s aliquots.


For example, if the original sample is S1, aliquots of that sample will be named S1-1, S1-2, etc. For sample S2 in the same container, aliquots will be named S2-1, S2-2, etc.

Dot Count

To generate aliquot names with "dot count", such as S1.0, S1.1, an admin can set the Sample Type's aliquot naming pattern to:


Start Counter at Value

To have the aliquot counter start at a specific number other than the default 0, such as S1.1001, S1.1002., set the aliquot naming pattern to:


Set Number of Digits

To use a fixed number of digits, use number pattern formatting. For example, to generate S1-001, S1-002, use:

${${AliquotedFrom}-:withCounter(1, '000')}


Aliquot Naming PatternGenerated aliquot names
BLANKS1-1, S1-2
${${AliquotedFrom}-:withCounter}S1-1, S1-2
${${AliquotedFrom}.:withCounter}S1.1, S1.2
${${AliquotedFrom}-:withCounter(1001)}S1-1001, S1-1002
${${AliquotedFrom}-:withCounter(1, '000')}S1-001, S1-002

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