A microtiter plate is an array of chemical test tubes called "wells", invented in 1951 by a Hungarian medical doctor.
They are used in a variety of experimental designs, most typically biochemistry assays. The picture above is an example of a colorimetric assay result. Most of the time, they are not directly interpreted visually, as in this example, but are instead put into a plate reader that measure light transmission in each well and converts it to a numerical result. See an example catalog from a vendor. Liquid handlers make it possible to create these visualizations automatically.
- The text above is adapted from an e-mail by Jon Hill.
- Picture from Gould and Lashomb (2005) Bacterial Leaf Scorch of Shade Trees.
- Wikipedia (2013) Microtiter plate.
- Also see this blog post on how chemical reactions can be used to create bar charts.