skip to main content


Title: Development of a single-cell X-ray fluorescence flow cytometer

An X-ray fluorescence flow cytometer that can determine the total metal content of single cells has been developed. Capillary action or pressure was used to load cells into hydrophilic or hydrophobic capillaries, respectively. Once loaded, the cells were transported at a fixed vertical velocity past a focused X-ray beam. X-ray fluorescence was then used to determine the mass of metal in each cell. By making single-cell measurements, the population heterogeneity for metals in the µ M to m M concentration range on fL sample volumes can be directly measured, a measurement that is difficult using most analytical methods. This approach has been used to determine the metal composition of 936 individual bovine red blood cells (bRBC), 31 individual 3T3 mouse fibroblasts (NIH3T3) and 18 Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) cells with an average measurement frequency of ~4 cells min –1. These data show evidence for surprisingly broad metal distributions. Lastly, details of the device design, data analysis and opportunities for further sensitivity improvement are described.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  3. DePaul Univ., Chicago, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (Online); Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1600-5775
International Union of Crystallography
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
National Institutes of Health (NIH) - National Institute of General Medical Sciences; USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; flow cytometry; homeostasis; metallome; single cell; x-ray fluorescence
OSTI Identifier: