What is Flow Cytometry
Flow cytometry is a method of measuring multiple physical and chemical characteristics of single cells or particles as they travel in suspension one by one past a sensing point. Fluorescent probes and antibodies are used to identify and characterize cells or particles The modern flow cytometer consists of a light source, collection optics, electronics and a computer to translate signals to data. The light source of choice is a laser which emits coherent light at a specified wavelength. Scattered and emitted fluorescent light is collected by two lenses (one set in front of the light source and one set at right angles) and a series of optics, beam splitters and filters. Specific bands of fluorescence can be measured.
Flow Cytometry can measure physical characteristics such as cell size, shape and internal complexity. Any cell component or function that can be detected by a fluorescent compound can also be examined. There are many applications for flow cytometry, resulting in the extensive use of these instruments within the biological and medical fields.