OREANDA-NEWS. June 13, 2012. Sony today announced that it will begin taking orders for Cell Sorter SH800 starting this fall. Cell Sorter SH800 is the first flow cytometer cell analysis instrument developed by Sony for the optical analysis of cells. This product successfully automates optical alignment and sorting set-up by utilizing Sony's technologies cultivated in laser optics, such as Blu-ray Disc, and optical discs. In addition, by incorporating a newly developed plastic cell sorting chip, it offers dramatically greater efficiency with measurement tasks.

Flow cytometry

 Flow cytometry is a method that applies optical measurement to analyze and sort various kinds of cells based on their size, number, exterior surface, and interior content (such as their structure, functions and biomarkers). Flow cytometers play an important role as analytical instruments in the fields of hematology, immunology and oncology, as well as in cutting edge research for regenerative medicine and stem cells, such as iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells and ES (embryonic stem) cells. Flow cytometers are expected to further proliferate as research in these and other clinical areas continues to expand.

Flow cytometers emit laser beams while passing cells through a fine microchannel at high speeds. It then identifies the type and size of various kinds of cells by detecting the weak scattered light and fluorescence that is generated when the cell is illuminated by the laser. This closely resembles the detection principles of optical discs such as Blu-ray Discs, which use laser optics to read the fine irregularities on an optical disc rotating at high speed.

Sony acquired US-based iCyt Mission Technology, Inc. (iCyt) in 2010 and entered the Flow Cytometry business, with the aim to apply its vast audio-visual technologies in the highly anticipated medical and bio fields. Cell Sorter SH800 is the first commercialized product resulting from the combination Sony's Blu-ray Disc technology and iCyt's cell-sorting technology.

Cell Sorter SH800

SH800 features fully-automated adjustment of the laser beam optical axis and the electrical timing for sorting, thus eliminating the need for a specialist operator to perform complicated setup procedures and adjustments. This quick and simple setup enables researchers to dramatically improve their workflow efficiency.

Unlike regular cell sorters that use expensive fixed quartz components, which must be cleaned after each use, SH800 employs a newly-developed plastic cell-sorting chip in the measuring channel (flow cell), which is based on Sony's microfabrication techniques cultivated in optical discs. This product also enables the user to select the appropriate chip from different orifice sizes in accordance with the type and size of the cell being measured. In addition, these chips can be easily exchanged and set into the instrument.

SH800 is compact at just one-third the size (55cm width/55cm depth/72cm height) of regular cell sorters manufactured by other companies as it incorporates integrated laser technology and a compact mechanism design. Furthermore, it is relatively more affordable than existing flow cytometers because it satisfies the basic cell sorting functions with a maximum of just four lasers and six color fluorescence detection. Sony recommends this new user-friendly personal cell sorter to a wide range of customers in a variety of fields, including individual laboratories that formerly resisted installing flow cytometers due to sheer expense or requirements for specialist operators.

Sony aims to achieve mid- to long-term growth in its medical business, and will strive to expand and strengthen its range of flow cytometers to deliver high-quality, innovative products.