Flow cytometry is an analytical technique used to examine the physical and chemical properties of cells and microparticles,
including beads. This method exploits a wide range of disciplines to provide information about size, shape, DNA content, surface
receptors, and membrane permeability as well as to count the cells in a sample. Sorting capabilities are based on fluorescence
activity that is measured while the sample is in flow.
The first step for analysis by flow cytometry is to label the sample cells or beads with fluorescent dyes that bind only to
specific components of interest. Samples are then suspended in a liquid and injected into the flow cytometer. Under precise,
controlled conditions, the sample is subjected to laminar flow, whereby the injected sample is constrained to the center of
a fluid stream. This forces the sample of cells or beads to proceed in a single-file fashion; they then pass through a laser
beam that excites the fluorescent dyes. Each cell or bead will also cause the laser beam to scatter in a specific pattern,
which is a function of the shape, size, and structure of the cell or bead. Information is collected and analyzed by the system's
data analysis system.
Industrial distribution of flow cytometry for 2012.
Academia, hospital and clinical, independent testing and CRO, and government research are the top four industries using flow
cytometers, with a combined market share of nearly 80%. The three types of technologies included in this category are full-scale
analyzers, sorters, and benchtop and compact cytometers. Although full-scale analyzers account for the majority of the flow
cytometry market, compact flow cytometers are expected to grow the fastest.
The foregoing data were extracted and adapted from SDi's Global Assessment Report, 12th Edition. For more information, visit