Flow Cytometry: Basic Principles

 | Post date: 2021/04/19 | 
Flow cytometry is a technology that provides rapid multi-parametric analysis of single cells in solution. Flow cytometers utilize lasers as light sources to produce both scattered and fluorescent light signals that are read by detectors such as photodiodes or photomultiplier tubes. These signals are converted into electronic signals that are analyzed by a computer and written to a standardized format (.fcs) data file. Cell populations can be analyzed and/or purified based on their fluorescent or light scattering characteristics. A variety of fluorescent reagents are utilized in flow cytometry. These include, fluorescently conjugated antibodies, DNA binding dyes, viability dyes, ion indicator dyes, and fluorescent expression proteins.
The instrumentation used for flow cytometry has evolved over the last several decades. Multiple laser systems are common as are instruments that are designed for specific purposes, such as systems with 96-well loaders designed for bead analysis, systems that combine microscopy and flow cytometry and systems that combine mass spectrometry and flow cytometry.
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