Imaging Flow Cytometry

Imaging Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry is a powerful technique widely used in cell counting, biomarker detection, and cell sorting. However, it has low information content and cannot measure the morphology and spatial information of a single cell. Compared with traditional flow cytometry, imaging flow cytometry increases the number of parameters that can be measured by providing cell morphology and spatial information in a high-throughput and controllable manner. Therefore, it is widely used in biological disciplines, such as immunology, cell biology, and microbiology.

Imaging Flow Cytometry Acquires Images of Single Cells in High ThroughputFigure 1.Imaging flow cytometry acquires images of single cells in high throughput (Doan, et al., 2018).

Imaging flow cytometry (IFC) is a powerful tool that combines flow cytometry with digital microscopes, allowing us to collect information from individual cells to generate quantitative high-throughput imaging data. CD BioSciences uses imaging flow cytometry to provide you with a series of imaging analysis services such as cell counting, cell apoptosis, and cell proliferation. If you have any needs, please feel free to contact us.

Summary of Imaging Flow Cytometry (IFC) Techniques

Features ImageStream Multiple-view Temporally Coded Excitation STEAM FIRE Spatial–temporal Transformation
Illumination (spectral range) Laser LED Laser Pulse laser Laser Laser
Detector TDI CCD CMOS CMOS Single-pixel detector PMT PMT
Modality Fluorescence Transmission Fluorescence Transmission Fluorescence Fluorescence
Transmission   Transmission Phase contrast   Transmission
Side-scatter Laser       Back-scatter
Data transfer & computation complexity Simple Simple Simple Complex Complex Simple
Inherit functions from FC Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Compatibility with sorting No No No No No Yes
Image resolution Moderate Moderate High Moderate High Moderate
Throughput (cells per s) Up to 1000 ∼10000 ∼2000 Up to 100000 ∼50000 >1000
Real-time processing solution Yes No No Yes No Yes

FC: conventional flow cytometry.

Application of Imaging Flow Cytometry

Co-localization of two proteins
Changes in morphological changes
Immune synapse formation
Cell cycle analysis
Cell proliferation analysis
Cell viability analysis

Binding of two cells
Nuclear translocation
Cell counting
Apoptosis analysis
Cell autophagy analysis
Cytotoxicity analysis

Advantages of Imaging Flow Cytometry

  • High fluorescence sensitivity
  • High image resolution capability
  • High-speed processing
  • Ability to analyze changes in cell or nuclear morphology
  • Rare cell detection capability
  • The ability to understand the interaction between cells


  1. Doan, Minh, et al. "Diagnostic potential of imaging flow cytometry." Trends in biotechnology 36.7 (2018): 649-652.
  2. Han, Yuanyuan, et al. "Imaging technologies for flow cytometry." Lab on a Chip 16.24 (2016): 4639-4647.

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Please note: Our services can only be used for research purposes. Do not use in diagnostic or therapeutic procedures!

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