adding a violet laser to an LSR II

Howard Shapiro hms at
Thu Jan 3 21:46:04 EST 2008

Janet Dow wrote:

> We are wanting to add a 405 nm violet laser to our LSR II and were
> wondering if it is cheaper(or even possible) to do it without going thru
> BD.  We would obviously need to add some PMTs at the same time.
> I would love to hear from anyone who has done this without going thru BD
> as well as those who used BD for the upgrade.
> I am interested in cost and how hard/easy this would be to do myself. I
> am quite good at working on our Calibur and Scan as well as my MoFlo.

In my experience, it is a lot easier to build a flow cytometer from
scratch than it is to make significant modifications to a commercial
instrument. This definitely applies to one as complex as an LSR II. You
will not only need the laser, you will also the fiber optic and lens
that direct light to the flow cell, and all the mounting hardware. You
will not only need the PMTs, mounts, etc., you will also need a trigon
or octagon and the relatively nonstandard filters and other optics that
go with it, plus some nontrivial electronics (I may be wrong, but I
wouldn't imagine the LSR came with electronics for PMTs that didn't ship
with it). After you put the whole business together, you will then need
to align the optics and tweak the electronics so you can get decent
signals and make sense of them.

I can add a laser and a couple of PMTs to a Cytomutt in a day or two
because the Cytomutt is a) designed to make that relatively easy, b)
made from modular parts that can either be bought off the shelf or made
using a benchtop drill press and a hacksaw, and c) a lot less
complicated than an LSR II. I wouldn't even attempt to play the game
with an LSR II or an Aria; maybe on a MoFlo, but I'd be hesitant even there.

Unless some competent third party decides to do retrofits for the
fancier BD boxes, as Cytek has done for the Calibur, your only
reasonable option, in my opinion, is to get the job done by BD. Flow
cytometers are like yachts; if you have to worry about what it costs to
get and keep them, you can't afford one.



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