Cytometer with Automatic Continuous Alignment Correction

Principal Investigator: Jarred Swalwell

Flow cytometry is a method used to characterize and count small particles. The particles are injected in a carrier fluid, which flows through a detection zone with a light source aligned perpendicular to the direction of fluid flow. The light scattered from the particles is used to determine the count or property of interest. However, this system is very dependent on the alignment of the laser and the detector. Misalignments can occur due to thermal fluctuations or external interferences such as mechanical vibrations and pointing instabilities of the laser. Currently, the light source must be frequently aligned manually, which is both labor-intensive and time-consuming.

The inventor has developed a technique to automatically align the light source and detector using a feedback loop. Furthermore, the invention includes an imaging component, which allows for collecting images along the optical axis within the detection zone. This system allows for continuous alignment correction of the laser; and therefore, eliminates the time and costs of manually doing so.

• This technology can be used for the continuous automated alignment of the laser and detector in a flow cytometer. 

• Flow cytometry is used for cell sorting, monitoring protein expression in cells, and characterizing particles. 

• The internal alignment mechanism reduces the costs and manual labor needed for the upkeep of a flow cytometer. 

• This technology allows for continuous alignment and therefore a higher overall reading accuracy.

For more info, contact: Lisa Norton

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