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Fluorophore Families

Simple organic fluorophores encompass a variety of synthetically-derived dyes. Because of their small size, multiple simple organic fluorophores can be conjugated to a single antibody. Due to their conjugation chemistry, these dyes are flexible and can be easily used to generate custom antibodies. Unlike protein-based fluors, simple organic dyes are not sensitive to organic solvents, like those used in phospho-flow, making them advantageous for these applications. Organic dyes are also soluble, meaning they are less susceptible to aggregation and precipitation. Simple organic dyes are often used in microscopy due to their discrete excitation and emission profiles and are chosen for their limited spillover into other imaging channels. Simple organic dyes are great to stain intracellular or intranuclear targets.

Using a diverse array of fluorophores allows us to expand the limits of flow cytometry and develop larger multicolor panels. High level panels (>22 colors) can be built using cytometers capable of spectral detection or the ability to unmix a fluorescent spectrum across an array of emission detectors such as the Cytek™ Aurora or Northern Lights. Some fluorophores, like the Spark dyes, are specifically designed to be used on these cytometers.

Learn more about the unique advantages offered by each member among the various families of fluorophores and how to best use them in multicolor panels:

  • Protein-based fluors: PE, APC, PerCP, and their tandems
  • Organic dyes: FITC, Alexa Fluor® dyes, Spark Fluors, etc.
  • Organic Polymers: Brilliant Violet™ Dyes