PipeCyte: Simple compact flow cytometry for remote platforms

PipeCyte: Simple compact flow cytometry for remote platforms
Jarred Swalwell
University of Washington School of Oceanography

Flow cytometery is an ideal microbiological detection technique that has been hampered in its transition to remote platforms by the complexity of controlling and maintaining micrometer scale fluid systems.  By placing the primary optic in a large enclosed flow of seawater, the PipeCyte is the first flow cytometer to eliminate sub-millimeter scale fluid paths and requires no more maintenance than other bulk measurements currently employed on remote platforms. The sheathless Virtual Core optical technique is used to recover single cell scatter and fluorescent measurements directly from raw seawater.  Unlike a standard flow cytometer optical system where the analyte is contained in a flow and placed well away from expensive high-power and long focal length optics, PipeCyte uses an immersed optic to leverage the large light collection angle of a short focal length using a single inexpensive and expendable lens.  Detection capability is on par with the best flow cytometry instruments on the market today.  With a total instrument volume less than a shoebox and a fluid flow path of ¼” diameter, this new instrument is compatible with standard integration techniques employed by modern instrumentation packages.  The rosette/CTD package will be the first integration platform with testing to commence in spring of 2018.