The principle of a multiple wavelength illumination method for flow cytometers, based upon a combination of a helium-neon laser and an arc lamp as illumination sources is described. By using a prism, the light from the arc lamp is dispersed and the different colors are imaged at different places on the sample stream. The small angle light scattering from the helium-neon laser light is measured as a relevant parameter and serves as a trigger signal for subsequent measurements of fluorescence or scattering of light from the arc lamp. Two experimental systems are described utilizing this principle: a system where the emission is detected orthogonally with respect to the direction of the illumination beams, and an epi-illumination system. With the orthogonal set-up multiple wavelength right angle scattering measurements are possible. This is illustrated by showing that the orthogonal scattering from erythrocytes is strongly dependent on the illumination wavelength. It is further shown that the apparatus is suitable for the measurement of intracellular pH using the pH dependence of the excitation spectrum of fluorescein. The epi-illumination system allows excitation of two (or more) fluorescent dyes with different excitation spectra. In this case the emission spectra of the fluorescent dyes may overlap substantially. This is shown by simultaneous measurement of DNA and protein of Chinese hamster lung cells using mitramycin and tetramethyl rhodamin isothiocyanate (TRITC).
- DNA-protein staining
- Intracellular pH measurement