Flow cytometry is a technology that is used to analyze the physical and chemical characteristics of particles in a fluid as it passes through at least one laser. Cell components are fluorescently labeled and then excited by the laser to emit light at varying wavelengths.
The fluorescence can be measured to determine various properties of single particles, which are usually cells. Up to thousands of particles per second can be analysed as they pass through the liquid stream. Examples of the properties measured include the particle’s relative granularity, size and fluorescence intensity as well as its internal complexity. An optical-to-electronic coupling system is used to record the way in which the particle emits fluorescence and scatters incident light from the laser.
Flow cytometry is used to perform several procedures including:
- Cell counting
- Cell sorting
- Detection of biomarkers
- Protein engineering