Hand-Held Flow Cytometer
Novel optofluidics technology enables on-site diagnostics
Image: Hand-held flow cytometer
PARC offers expertise and advanced designs for compact optofluidic systems that enable point-of-need diagnostics. PARC’s “spatially modulated emission” technique can reduce the cost and size of today’s commercially available flow cytometers while maintaining testing speed and high signal-to-noise discrimination.
Sensor Application Services
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Flow cytometry is a method commonly used in the clinical and research environment to examine the characteristics of biological cells. The bio-particles are guided one by one through a focused laser beam with sheath fluid and are characterized by fluorescence and light scattering. However, currently available flow cytometers are large and expensive, and often located in centralized laboratories since careful particle alignment with a laser beam is required.
PARC’s innovative “spatially modulated emission” technique enables a rugged, compact, and high-performance flow cytometer for on-site diagnostics at low cost. No complex optical alignment is required. PARC’s technique is intrinsically tolerant to background noise, so it can still achieve high signal-to-noise discrimination.
PARC’s hand-held flow cytometer has the following benefits:
- Low cost
- Easy to use
- High throughput
- High signal-to-noise discrimination
- Mechanically and optically robust
Potential point-of-need applications include:
- CD4 monitoring in whole blood
- Pathogen detection in water
- Somatic cell counts in milk
- Differential white blood cell counting
- Food monitoring
- Bacteria detection
- Industrial process control
PARC’s hand-held flow cytometer uses off- the-shelf components such as a low-cost laser module, a fluidic chip, collimator optics, a filter, and a compact silicon photodiode. Integrated in the flow cytometer is PARC’s novel “spatially modulated emission” technique, which generates a time-dependent signal when a fluorescing particle travels across a channel in a fluidic chip. The fluidic chip has an embedded patterned mask, which modulates the intensity of the fluorescent light directed to a large-area detector. A filter is placed between the channel and the detector to block the excitation light from being detected. The resulting signals are compared to expected particle signatures, and an intensity histogram and speed profile are recorded to obtain particle counts and analyte volume.
With PARC’s technique, no complex alignment is necessary between the fluidic chip and the detector since a patterned mask is embedded in the fluidic chip. In addition, PARC’s unique correlation techniques allow high signal-to-noise discrimination without compromising the testing speed.
PARC’s flow cytometer prototype performance has been demonstrated with CD4+ in human blood (no lysis). It took less than five minutes to analyze the analyte solution that contained about 2ul of whole blood. The measured absolute and percentage CD4+ counts were in excellent agreement with data obtained from a commercially available instrument, the BD Biosciences’ FACSCount. The prototype has also been extensively tested to detect pathogens (e.g., giardia, cryptosporidium, and E. coli) in water.
PARC is interested in working with commercial partners who want to use our novel technique for new applications or products.
Please contact Business Development: