Particle Size and Shape Analysis Using Flow Imaging Microscopy

Flow imaging microscopy, also referred to as dynamic image analysis, is a solution-based technique to capture subvisible and visible images of particles and microorganisms in a microfluidic channel under flow.

  1. A sample is manually or automatically loaded into the injection port
  2. A high-precision syringe draws the sample into an optical flow cell
  3. A fluidics sensor initiates data acquisition
  4. A high-speed camera records images of the full width and depth of the flow cell as the sample flows through the optical field of view
  5. Particle images are segmented from the camera images and captured in real-time as they flow through the flow cell
  6. Data is further analyzed, grouped, and filtered post-acquisition


In FlowCam 8400 and FlowCam Cyano, fluorescence excitation allows FlowCam to capture particle images whenever a fluorescing object is detected in the flow cell.

Direct Particle Measurements

One of the key advantages of flow imaging microscopy with FlowCam is that particle measurements are calculated directly from an image of the particle. Since flow imaging microscopy is designed with fixed optics at known magnifications, distance measurements on the image can be directly converted to real distance measurements on the object. Flow imaging systems do not have to make any assumptions about a particle’s size and shape because they measure multiple particle properties directly from an image.

Other particle analysis systems, such as light obscuration, laser diffraction, and light scattering, need to make assumptions about the physical dimensions of the particle. These techniques measure a signal proportional to a physical dimension and convert that signal to a value representing the number of particles and corresponding particle size distribution in the sample. In addition, many of these analytical techniques only measure ensemble (bulk) properties, i.e., the properties of the overall population distribution.

The ultimate benefit of performing flow imaging microscopy with a FlowCam imaging system is that you can visualize single particles and calculate desired sample properties based directly on individual particle images.

What's under the curve graphic - showing particle images and a volumetric graph

Download Our Ebook

Learn more about the benefits in our informative e-Book,
The Ultimate Guide to Flow Imaging Microscopy


Download Ebook

FlowCam ebook cover thumbnail

Interested in learning more?

  1. Get in Touch

    Tell us about your application and particle characterization needs.

  2. Have a conversation

    We're happy to set up a call to discuss your application and answer your questions.

  3. Discuss next steps

    Expand your knowledge with a seminar, demonstration, sample analysis, or obtain a quote.

Get in Touch