The intersection of flow cytometry with microfluidics and microfabrication
A modern flow cytometer can analyze and sort particles on a one by one basis at rates of 50 000 particles per second. Flow cytometers can also measure as many as 17 channels of fluorescence, several angles of scattered light, and other non-optical parameters such as particle impedance. More specialized flow cytometers can provide even greater analysis power, such as single molecule detection, imaging, and full spectral collection, at reduced rates. These capabilities have made flow cytometers an invaluable tool for numerous applications including cellular immunophenotyping, CD4+ T-cell counting, multiplex microsphere analysis, high-throughput screening, and rare cell analysis and sorting. Many bio-analytical techniques have been influenced by the advent of microfluidics as a component in analytical tools and flow cytometry is no exception. Here we detail the functions and uses of a modern flow cytometer, review the recent and historical contributions of microfluidics and microfabricated devices to field of flow cytometry, examine current application areas, and suggest opportunities for the synergistic application of microfabrication approaches to modern flow cytometry.