BD FACSCanto Research System flow cytometer

Innovative optical design delivers highest sensitivity

The innovative designs for both the excitation and collection optics reduce excitation losses, yielding more information from each sample.

The optics of the BD FACSCanto system consist of an excitation source with three lasers, a blue (488-nm, aircooled, 20-mW solid state), a red (640-nm, 40-mW solid state), and a violet (405-nm, 30-mW solid state). Laser excitation optics illuminate cells in the sample and collection optics direct light scatter and fluorescence signals through spectral filters to the detectors.


The excitation optics consist of multiple fixed wavelength lasers, fiber optics up to the beam-shaping prisms, and achromatic focusing lenses that produce spatially separated beam spots in the flow cell. Each lens focuses the laser light into the gel-coupled cuvette flow cell. Since the optical pathway and the sample core stream are fixed, alignment is fixed from day to day and from experiment to experiment with no need for user intervention.

Features Optics - Laser beams

Excitation optics focus the laser beams


The emission signals are transmitted from the flow cell to the detector arrays, an octagon for the blue and a trigon each for the red and the violet laser signals. The octagon contains five PMTs and detects light from the 488-nm blue laser. A PMT in the octagon collects side scatter signals. The trigons contain three PMTs each and detect light from the 640-nm red and the 405-nm violet laser.

Features Optics - Emission table

Emission spectra of commonly used fluorochromes

The BD FACSCanto system is designed for these fluorophore combinations.

Collection optics

The octagon and trigons are BD patented detector arrays that use serial light reflections to guide signals to their target detectors, resulting in highly efficient light collection and providing maximum signal retention at the detector level.

This BD serial reflective design further enhances instrument sensitivity by collecting the dimmest emission signals first, moving from the longest wavelengths (typically PE-Cy7) to the shortest (FITC).

Features Optics - Collection optics