Flow Cytometry - Introduction & Basics Guide

Flow cytometry is a technique used to measure properties of cells in a fluid as they pass through one or more laser beams. Cells are fluorescently labeled using antibodies conjugated to fluorescent dyes, which emit light of different wavelengths upon excitation by a specific laser.

Updated Flow Cytometry Basics GuideFlow Cytometry Basics Guide

Practical advice to get you started in flow cytometry

This flow cytometry guide aims to give you a basic overview of all the important aspects of flow cytometry. With chapters on instrumentation, useful reagents, controls, experimental set up and much more, this guide enables best practice to be followed and gives practical advice on building multicolor panels with example protocols.

Our guide is invaluable to beginners wanting to start flow cytometry and as a handy tool for teaching others about this powerful application.

To further assist learning we have recently added a Flow Cytometry glossary of terms to this guide.


Chapter 1 - Principles of the Flow Cytometer

This chapter explains how a flow cytometer works. You will learn how the cells pass through the instrument, how light is detected and measured and the basic principles behind sorting cells.


Chapter 2 - Principles of Fluorescence

Fluorophores are fluorescent markers which absorb light energy and emit at a longer wavelength. This chapter explains how they work, why fluorescent markers are so important in flow cytometry and how to compensate between them.


Chapter 3 - Data Analysis

Flow cytometry data can be analyzed in different ways. Here we give common examples of gating strategies and how data can be best represented.


Chapter 4 - Controls in Flow Cytometry

Controls are vital in any experiment to reliably distinguish your results from background variation and non-specific effects. Here we will discuss some essential controls for flow cytometry you must consider to ensure publication quality flow cytometry data.


Chapter 5 – Optimizing your Experiments

One of the fundamentals of flow cytometry is the ability to measure single particles as they pass through the laser, however, if you start with a poor sample it is likely that the data collected will be poor as well. In this chapter we give you advice on how to prepare and treat samples to ensure you have a viable cell suspension.


Chapter 6 – Basic Rules for Building Multicolor Panels

Building complex multicolor panels can be difficult. This chapter gives some basic rules you should follow in your experimental design to build multicolor panels.


Chapter 7 – Uses of Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry has many varied uses. In this section we will briefly discuss popular techniques currently being used in flow cytometry to distinguish one particle from another and some of the emerging technologies.


Chapter 8 - Common Protocols

The data of quality from flow cytometry can be affected by both your cell health and staining protocol used. Here we give examples of commonly used cell preparation techniques and staining protocols for surface markers, intracellular markers and DNA.


Chapter 9 - Troubleshooting

There can be many reasons for poor results. Here we list some of the common problems with advice to help you get the best staining possible along with recommended reading if you want more information.

All your Flow Needs Covered

As experts in this application, we can confidently say that our Flow Cytometry Hub is the perfect place to find everything you need to achieve success with your FC experiments. From products to instrumentation, downloadables to webinars, articles to technical support, Bio-Rad has it all. Below is a small example of what our main hub section contains.