The Becton Dickinson (BD) FACSCalibur is a flow cytometer that provides highly sensitive cell analysis. Sensitivity is established thanks to a four color, dual laser optical system that is able to read a number of signals at once. A variety of applications are supported by the instrument in large part due to a high degree of modularity. Plate handlers and various modules can be integrated with the system, allowing it to accommodate varying workloads as well as different applications. One such module that can be integrated is BD TruCount technology. This technology allows the instrument to perform cell sorting, which provides users with accurate absolute counts of samples. Modularity and sensitivity makes this instrument a valuable tool for any laboratory, including those with changing needs.
The optical system of the FACSCalibur is designed to analyze a variety of signals. This system was designed as one of the first to provide standard multicolor analytical capabilities. Multicolor analysis is possible in large part due to its dual-laser technology that includes one air-cooled argon laser and one red diode laser. These lasers together provide the flexibility and sensitivity needed for such applications. It is the spatial separation of these lasers that provides the high sensitivity, minimal compensation, and flexibility needed for multiple fluorochromes to be selected simultaneously or otherwise. Other factors contributing to functionality are an alignment free optical design and interbeam compensation. These last two designs ensure the sensitivity required for many applications in spite of the low powered lasers the system uses.
The FACSCalibur supports a number of applications requiring varying degrees of accuracy or throughput. Basic applications include routine cell analysis, assay development, and verification. Multicolor analysis allows the system to identify cells at different developmental stages. This standard of flow cytometry is accomplished using fluorescent-labeled monoclonal antibodies to match surface markers on cells. For more complicated applications, rare-event analysis capability allows this system to characterize only those parameters in a sample that the current procedure requires for analysis. This facilitates applications involving a high number of samples to be analyzed rapidly by only measuring necessary characteristics. Such examples include studies where millions of cells being analyzed need to be characterized into subpopulations that are large enough to be of significance, which requires rapid and accurate analysis.
A number of optional components available open additional applications for the instrument, as has already been discussed with cell counting by BD TruCount. When working in conjunction with BD DNA analysis, the FACSCalibur is able to give accurate analysis of ploidy and cell-cycle without the problems and artifacts normally associated with them. High resolution DNA ploidy and S phase determinations are acquired via electronics and linearity that ensure such accurate results.
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