Performance analysis of a dual-buffer architecture for digital flow cytometry

Shiva Murthi, Sundararajan Sankaranarayanan, Bo Xia, Georgina M. Lambert, Jeffrey J. Rodriguez, David W. Galbraith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Most current commercial flow cytometers employ analog circuitry to provide feature values describing the pulse waveforms produced from suspended cells and particles. This restricts the type of features that can be extracted (typically pulse height, width, and integral) and consequently places a limit on classification performance. In previous work, we described a first-generation digital data acquisition and processing system that was used to demonstrate the classification advantages provided by the extraction of additional waveform features. An improved version of the system is discussed in this paper, focusing on dual-buffering to ensure increased pulse capture. A mathematical model of the system is also presented for performance analysis. Methods: The second-generation system incorporates fast digitization of analog pulse waveforms, instantaneous pulse detection hardware, and a novel dual-buffering scheme. A mathematical model of the system was developed to theoretically compute the capture-rate performance. Results: The capture rate of the system was theoretically analyzed and empirically measured. Under typical conditions, a capture rate of 8,000 pulses/s was experimentally achieved. Conclusions: Based on these results, the dual-buffer architecture shows great potential for use in flow cytometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalCytometry Part A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Analog-to-digital conversion
  • Digital signal processing
  • First-in first-out
  • Microprocessor
  • Queueing theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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