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Cytometry A. 2007 Feb;71(2):73-9.

Increased immunofluorescence sensitivity using 532 nm laser excitation.

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Vaccine Research Center, NIAID, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-3015, USA.



We evaluated the use of a high power, diode pulsed solid-state laser emitting 532 nm light for immunofluorescence applications. We compared the sensitivity and utility of this laser with the standard 488 nm excitation.


A flow cytometer was equipped with both a 488 nm and a 532 nm laser; fluorescence emissions from each laser were collected using the same filters and the same detector system. Cells or compensation beads (e.g. latex beads coated with anti-kappa antibodies) were stained with monoclonal antibodies conjugated to phycoerythrin (PE) as well as the PE tandem dyes TRPE, Cy5PE, Cy5.5PE, and Cy7PE. The sensitivity of detection of these reagents as well as those in heavily compensated channels was quantified by measuring the spreading error for a primary detector into a secondary detector.


Measurement of the fluorescence emission of PE and PE-tandem dyes was considerably more sensitive when using 532 nm excitation (150 mW) as compared with 488 nm excitation (20 mW). In addition, as the absolute number of photoelectrons collected was greater, there was less measurement-error-induced spread into the compensated channels. As an example, when comparing the spreading error of PE labeled cells into the TRPE detector, the green laser was found to be 15-fold more sensitive as compared with the blue laser. In addition, the blue laser produced more autofluoresent signal from cells as compared with the green laser. Together, these advantages of the 532 nm excitation line provides for a significantly improved detection of immunofluorescence staining.

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