Each Wednesday we feature a specific wavelength of light and user submitted applications. This week's wavelength is 660 nm for flow cytometry.
Although we have visited flow cytometry before, it is such an important laser use and there are so many different flourophores that react to so many different wavelengths that it is worth more than one look.
Wikipedia has a pretty good beginners definition for those of you new to the topic. Here's what they say: "
In biotechnology, flow cytometry is a laser-based, biophysical technology employed in cell counting, cell sorting, biomarker detection and protein engineering, by suspending cells in a stream of fluid and passing them by an electronic detection apparatus. It allows simultaneous multiparametric analysis of the physical and chemical characteristics of up to thousands of particles per second.
Flow cytometry is routinely used in the diagnosis of health disorders, especially blood cancers, but has many other applications in basic research, clinical practice and clinical trials. A common variation is to physically sort particles based on their properties, so as to purify populations of interest.
Description of Laser Application
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 different wavelengths.
In their own words:
With the use of different dyes and additives, lasers can be used to understand the specific chemical make up of a sample in medical, life sciences abiology and chemistry applications.. Important fluorochromes for this wavelength include DyLight® 650 , Alexa Fluor® 647, and Cy5.