Setup of a Flow Sorter
The option of sorting out cells according to microscopic parameters has made flow cytometry one of the most valuable tools for cell biology. Sorting makes use of either of two different technical principles. One is based on changing the direction of flow of individual cells electromechanically . The cells are pushed in distinct flow channels of a closed flow chamber. The rate of sorting is limited to about 1000 particles per second. Because the particles do not have to pass a narrow nozzle, fragile and large cells or aggregates can be sorted with ease. Since the entire setup is closed, no aerosols are formed, and the risk of infection is minimal. This sorting principle is used in Partec machines and the FACSort of Beckton-Dickinson. Since we have no experience with these instruments we do not discuss them further. The second sorting principle is based on packing the cells into tiny droplets after analysis, charging those droplets that contain cells to be sorted out, and deflecting the charged droplets in an electrical field. This technology is used in free flow-in-air cytometers and allows sorting rates of up to 104 particles per second. The arrangement of droplet sorting is shown schematically in Figure 1.
KeywordsSample Line Drop Formation Charged Droplet Deflection Plate Flow Sorter
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