JDSU is supplying its Xcyte UV cell sorting lasers to the biotech industry, where it is used by bio-analytical companies in molecular biology, pathology, immunology, plant and marine biology applications.
Typical cell sorting processes utilizse expensive and sometimes carcinogenic bio-fluorescence tags designed to attach to targeted cells. A sample of treated cells is suspended in a liquid and directed into a hydro dynamically-focused stream of fluid, which passes through a focused UV laser beam before the cells are separated using florescence detection and electrostatic deflection.
The Xcyte laser uses quasi-continuous wave (CW) UV light at high peak power to maximise tag fluorescence efficiency, allowing users to minimise the concentration of expensive, potentially cell-damaging fluorescence tags. Additionally, the short picosecond pulsewidths are thought to reduce the risk of live cell DNA strands from unravelling as caused by exposure to CW UV lasers.
As the high frequency 100MHz Xcyte laser pulse rate greatly exceeds instrument detection responsivity and tag fluorescence decay times, there is no noticeable compromise in signal-to-noise ratio relative to signal-to-noise ratios achieved with CW lasers. Reducing the tag concentration and minimising DNA unraveling helps to maintain live cells, preserve their characteristics and prevent long-term mutation risks for effective and reproducible bio-analytical applications.