Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


How does mass cytometry compare to flow cytometry?

The use of isotopically distinct metals as reporters in mass cytometry means that there is minimal overlap between reporter signals, and so no compensation of signal is required. Although it is slower than conventional flow cytometry (400 events/sec, compared to 10,000 events/sec in flow cytometry), mass cytometry allows for massively multi-parametric single cell analysis, typically utilising panels of around 46 parameters.


How fast is the CyTOF? 

It runs at about 300-400 events/sec.


Can I detect cell size and granularity like with forward scatter (FSC) and side scatter (SSC) in flow cytometry? 

There is no FSC or SSC on the CyTOF. As such, we don't have accurate measurements of size or granularity.


If there is no FSC, how can I discriminate doublets from my analysis? 

We use a combination of total DNA content and total 'event duration' to distinguish single cells from combinations of cells.


Is it a problem if I have very autofluorescent cells?

No problem at all. Because we aren't detecting fluorescence at all, it doesn't matter how autofluorescent they are. This also means increased autofluorescence resulting from fixation isn't a concern either.