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Flow cytometry is a general method for analyzing microparticles such as cells, bacteria and other microorganisms with high efficiency, integrating optics, fluidics, electronics, and computer technology. With the application of all kinds of numerous advanced technologies, flow cytometers are getting becoming smaller, cheaper, faster, more integrated and better in performance.

In clinical laboratories, it has been used for some applications as follows: analysis of leukaemias and lymphomas, detection of minimal residual disease, stem cell enumeration, T cell cross-match, postoperative monitoring, detection of autoantibodies, HIV infection, foeto-maternal haemorrhage, immunodeficiency diseases, paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria, reticulocyte analysis, contaminating leucocytes, measurements on red blood cells (RBCs), platelet counting and function, quality control, and so on.

In immunology, it can be used for analyzation of lymphocyte sub-populations, detection of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL), detection of cytokines in cell and body fluid, observation of infection and its therapeutic effect, and so on.

In cell biology, flow cytometry also can be used for detection of cell apoptosis, cell cycles, the concentration of Ca2+, incellular pH, cell sorting, and so on.