What Can a Coulter Counter Measure?

What can Coulter Counter measure

The more I read about this subject, the more I’m impressed by the versatility of the Coulter Counter as a particle characterisation instrument. In answer to the question in the heading, the obvious answer is the size and number of particles in a sample. The full answer, of course, is much deeper than that.

Perhaps most importantly, it should be recognised that a Coulter Counter measures these things to a higher level of resolution than other techniques – and that its results are highly reproducible and reliable. But something else that amazes me is the sheer variety of particles and materials for which it can be used.

Even the very briefest survey through Google tells me that the Coulter Counter is still heavily in demand for its original and perhaps most important function: characterising human blood cells. Over the years it has been deployed successfully – and with live-saving and life-enhancing results – to diagnose various diseases by analysing blood.

It continues to be the standard means of recording counts of both red and white blood cells, as well as other key blood-related parameters. It can also be used, in combination with such technologies as light scattering and fluorescence tagging, to give extra dimensions to the profiling of a patient’s blood.

The Coulter Principle also lends itself easily to analysis of many other kinds of biological cell, from the tiniest bacterial cells and virus particles to fat cells, aggregated plant cells and stem cell embryoid bodies, to name but a few.

Outside the realm of biology, industry has found uses for Coulter Counters and the Coulter Principle in determining the particle size, and the particle size distribution, of innumerable particulates which can be held in suspension. Here are the some of the first ones that I came across in my quick search: alumina, quartz, chromatography media, dry toners, catalysts and nuclear-grade plutonium dioxide powder. You will find many more examples elsewhere on this website.

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