Photonics Dictionary

spectral flow cytometry

Spectral flow cytometry is an advanced flow cytometry technique that expands the capabilities of traditional flow cytometry by utilizing spectral information from fluorochromes to enhance multiparametric analysis. In standard flow cytometry, fluorochromes are excited by lasers, and their emitted light is collected using a set of specific detectors. Spectral flow cytometry, however, captures the entire fluorescence emission spectrum for each fluorochrome, allowing for more detailed and comprehensive analysis of multiple parameters.

Key features and principles of spectral flow cytometry:

Spectral detection: In traditional flow cytometry, fluorochromes are typically detected using filters and photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) that are specific to certain wavelengths. Spectral flow cytometry, on the other hand, uses detectors, such as CCD (charge-coupled device) cameras or prisms, to capture the entire emission spectrum of each fluorochrome.

Multiparametric analysis: The spectral approach allows for better discrimination between fluorochromes with overlapping emission spectra. This enables the use of a larger number of distinct fluorochromes in a single sample, increasing the number of parameters that can be simultaneously analyzed.

Unmixing algorithms: Spectral flow cytometry relies on sophisticated data analysis algorithms to unmix and deconvolute the spectral signals from different fluorochromes. This computational approach helps separate overlapping signals and provides more accurate and quantitative measurements.

Reduced compensation: Traditional flow cytometry often requires compensation to correct for spectral overlap between fluorochromes. Spectral flow cytometry reduces the need for extensive compensation, as the entire spectral signature is captured and can be deconvoluted during data analysis.

Flexibility in panel design: Spectral flow cytometry offers greater flexibility in designing multicolor panels, as it allows researchers to select fluorochromes with more similar emission spectra without the concern of spectral overlap.

Increased sensitivity: Spectral flow cytometry can improve sensitivity by utilizing the entire spectral range for each fluorochrome, potentially allowing the detection of weak signals that might be missed in traditional flow cytometry.

Applications: Spectral flow cytometry is particularly valuable in complex experiments where a large number of markers need to be simultaneously analyzed, such as in immunophenotyping studies, functional assays, or investigations into heterogeneous cell populations.



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