Flow cytometry is a technique for rapid measurement of biological and physical properties of cells and particles. It involves analysis of directly scattered or fluorescent light from cells in a fast-flowing fluid stream, illuminated in all current systems by a continuous wave laser. Information concerning physical properties of the cells, including shape and size, may be derived from the directly scattered light. Cells ma)/ be labeled with fluorescent probes to determine biological properties such as, DNA, RNA, and protein content, and a variety of properties may be studied simultaneously using multiple-wavelength excitation. Recently many new applications have evolved including AIDS, hepatitis B, and cancer detection.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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