3D Morphology Detection by Diffraction Imaging Flow CytometryCase # 0803

Technology Contact

A. Carlyle Rogers, PhD
Phone: 252-737-1648


 Hu Flow Cytometer




Flow Cytometry is laboratory technique that allows for the characterization of individual cells or particles. Traditional flow cytometry requires the user to suspend cells in fluid that are then analyzed as they pass through a beam of light. Cell counting, cell sorting, protein expression, cell death, mitochondrial membrane potential, particle uptake as well as other parameters can be determined using flow cytometry.


Dr. Xin-Hua Hu and his co-investigators from the Department of Physics at Eas tCarolina University have developed a diffraction imaging flow cytometer. The device is used to study the morphology of individual biological cells by collecting and analyzing scattered laser light signals. The Diffraction Imaging Flow Cytometer involves the use of a laser beam, flow nozzle, core fluid and sheath fluid. As the cell passes past the laser beam, signals are detected by a Coherence Distribution Detector, which are then processed by a Coherence Distribution Imaging Analyzer. Non-diffraction and diffraction images are produced and cellular feature extraction and classification is performed to give the user cellular 3D morphology information.

Uses and Advantages

  • Can be used in preclinical and biomedical Labs
  • Can be combined with cell sorting apparatus
  • Simultaneous capture of scatter and fluorescence images
  • 10.3% Compound Annual Growth Rate in Market
  • $3.5 Billion Market

Selected Publications

Dong, K., Feng, Y., Jacobs, K. M. , Lu, J. Q. , Brock, R. S. , Li V. Yang, Fred E. Bertrand, Mary A. Farwell, Xin-Hua Hu, (2011). Label-free classification of cultured cells through diffraction imaging. Biomedical Optics Express, 2 (6), 1717-1726.

Dong, K., Jacobs, K. M., Sa, Y., Feng, Y., Lu, J. Q. , X.H. Hu, (2011). Study of Cell Classification with a Diffraction Imaging Flow Cytometer Method. SPIE Photonics West.

Jacobs, K.M., Lu, J.Q., &Hu, X.H. (2009). Development of a diffraction imaging flow cytometer. Optics Letters, 34, 2985-2987.

Inventor Profile

Dr. Xin-Hua Hu is a professor in the Department of Physics at East Carolina University. His research interests include light scattering patterns of cellular components and development of a Biomedical Laser Laboratory. The Biomedical Laser Laboratory is a laser-optics experimental research facility that is focused on studying the pathways and parameters of energy transfer that are fundamental to the understanding of biological systems and to develop instrumentation for biomedical research. Click to learn more...