Flow cytometry Flow cytometry

Flow cytometry

Flow cytometry is a photonic technique to study the structure and morphology of populations of micro-particles and cells. It is found in numerous labs ranging from medical to industrial. In cell biology, a flow cytometer can be used to count and sort cells, study the cell structure and morphology, detect cancerous cells, detect biomarkers, aid in protein engineering, and more. Cytometry’s growth and proliferation are attested by thousands of scientific publications and frequent meetings and symposia on the subject, particularly in immunology.

Flow cytometry illustration

A flow cytometer is a quintessential photonic device. It entails these essential components: fluidics, illumination optics, detection optics, photodetectors, electronics, and data analysis and display. A population of cells is introduced into a liquid solution; some or all cells can be tagged with fluorescent dyes. The solution is then injected into a sheath fluid flowing in a capillary. The hydrodynamic focusing forces the cells into a single-file formation along the central axis of the capillary. The cells, one at a time, pass through an interrogation region in the capillary defined by a focused illumination laser light. A passing cell scatters the light. The pattern of the scattered light depends on the size, structure, and morphology of the cell. In addition, the cell, if tagged, will emit fluorescent light. The light detection optics in the forward and side directions sample the scattered light, separate it into specific colors, and direct it to the photodetectors. The detected color, intensity, and duration of the light pulses are recorded and analyzed. The ubiquitous scatter plot of events, relating one measured quantity versus another, is the most common information product from the flow cytometer.


There is ongoing research in extending the capabilities of a flow cytometer to cell imaging and spectroscopy. Hamamatsu is actively involved in this endeavor by partnering with the major manufacturers of flow cytometers and providing expert opinion and technical support on photodetectors.

Application note:

PMT Modules H16200 Series

Our new PMT Modules H16200 Series  with semiconductor photocathodes dramatically improve low-light detection and dynamic range over a wider range of wavelengths.

Linear array multianode PMTs and spectral detection modules

The product lineup includes 6, 8 or 16 channel PMT modules that are selectable according to your application. Wavelength splitting optics can be combined to create a spectral detection module. Custom filters and dichroic mirrors can also be mounted as needed. Please feel free to contact us with your request.

Choice of bandpass filters and dichroic mirrors for optical assembly

Besides the above standard setup of the optical system, we have a variety of bandpass filters and dichroic mirrors available in stock. Select the desired bandpass filters and dichroic mirrors needed to configure a PMT module with the optical assembly most ideal for your application. Moreover, if you provide us with your band pass filters, we can use it to configure an optical system that matches your request. Please consult us for details.

H15441-20 choice of bandpass filters

APD modules

APD modules are high-sensitivity, high-speed-response light detection modules with built-in Si APDs. They incorporate an Si APD, I/V converter, and power supply, making them easy to use.

The APD is suitable for high-sensitivity, high-speed signal measurement using its internal multiplication function (about several hundred times) referred to as avalanche multiplication.

Various types of APD modules are available with different spectral response ranges and frequency bandwidths. Custom modules can also be provided upon request.

MPPC modules

MPPC modules are photon counting modules with built-in MPPCs. They incorporate an MPPC, I/V converter, and power supply, making them easy to use.

The MPPC features high gain (about 106), high photon detection efficiency, wide dynamic range, and excellent photon peak value discrimination ability, so it can obtain high S/N characteristics even for high-speed, weak signals.

Two wavelength types are available with different spectral response ranges. In addition, a type that is easy to adjust optically and with a flexible cable that is suitable for use in narrow places is available. Custom modules can also be provided upon request.

- C13365 series: Short wavelength type
- C13367 series: Short wavelength type (with flexible cable)
- C14452 series: Near-infrared type

Flow cell

We have a variety of selections including custom-made products.

TDI cameras

These cameras incorporate a TDI (time delay integration) sensor.

Contact us for more information.

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