Flowcell is a type of flowthrough cell. This is because the sample goes to the cell. There, the optical density is measured. After that, the sample comes out of the cell.
Design of flowcell
It is generally made up of UV quartz. The common volume of the cell is 30 μl. It has got an internal diameter of 2 mm. Similarly, the path length is 1 cm. If you look closely, you will see two windows exactly opposite to one another. From these two windows, light enters and then transmits out of the cell.
The size of the flowcell may differ from one to another. The other sizes include 50μl, 70μl, 100μl, etc. For this, flowcells will have a wider internal diameter. Also, the path length can be 2 cm or 3 cm. But, it should never be less than 1 cm.
If the flowcell is not cleaned from time to time, there can be the following problems
- Bubble formation
- Insufficient filling of the cell
When do you need to clean the flowthrough cell?
1. Before switching from one test to another
If you do not clean the flowcell while switching from one test to another, there can be chances of cross-contamination. For that, take at least 1.5 ml of distilled water and rinse the biochemistry analyzer for at least 5 seconds.
2. While shutting down the biochemistry analyzer
Rinse the flowcell, at the end of the day. For that, rinse the cell for about 2 mins with the distilled water.
3. During the operation of the machine
Press the rinse/wash button on the keyboard of the machine. This will cause the peristaltic pump to operate in continuous mode. After not less than 10 seconds, press the rinse/wash button again. This will cause the pump to stop.
Now, prepare 5 ml of ethanol. Sip it for 5 seconds and then press stop. Wait for 1o seconds. Then again click Wash. Finally, rinse it with the distilled water for 10 seconds.
Repeat the above process 2-3 times. You need to do this process twice a day. You can use other cleaning solutions as well. Some of them are 0.1 N KOH (NaOH) solution, enzyme solution capable of decomposing the protein deposits, etc. Commercially, you can also find a flowcell cleaner.
Alternatively, you can make a new program for cleaning your flowthrough cell.
In the end, rinse the flowcell with distilled water for 10 seconds.
Sometimes, due to the negligence of the user, there might be a blockage in the flowcell. This might be due to the feeding of whole blood or improper cleaning. So, if the above method fails to clean it, then take 3-5 ml of distilled water in a syringe. Then, remove the tubing connected to the peristaltic pump. After that, force the distilled water into the flowcell with the help of the syringe. But, do not apply excessive force. Else, it may damage.