OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 25, Iss. 12 — Jun. 15, 1986
  • pp: 1930–1934

Relative real refractive index of marine microorganisms: a technique for flow cytometric estimation

Richard W. Spinrad and Jeffrey F. Brown  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 25, Issue 12, pp. 1930-1934 (1986)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1017 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



A flow cytometer was used to estimate the relative real refractive indices of six species of phytoplankton cells. Light scatter measurements at 90° and a near-forward region (1.5–19°) were made with hydrocarbon dispersions and a glass bead suspension having known refractive indices. The ratios of the intensity of light scatter in these two angular regions for these standards was found (and can be shown, theoretically) to be proportional to the refractive index of the material. Using these calibration materials, light scatter measurements of individual phytoplankton cells yielded estimates of the relative refractive indices of these algae. These measurements are well within the historically accepted range of algal refractive indices, however, a significant degree of interspecific variability exists. The resolution of this technique to measure relative real refractive index (±0.005) represents a new capability in the assessment of optical properties of marine particulates.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: December 4, 1985
Published: June 15, 1986

Richard W. Spinrad and Jeffrey F. Brown, "Relative real refractive index of marine microorganisms: a technique for flow cytometric estimation," Appl. Opt. 25, 1930-1934 (1986)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. R. W. Sheldon, T. R. Parsons, A Practical Manual on the Use of the Coulter Counter in Marine Science (Coulter Electronics Sales Co., Toronto, 1967).
  2. B. J. Trask, G. J. Van Den Engh, J. H. B. W. Elgershuizen, “Analysis of Phytoplankton by Flow Cytometry,” Cytometry 2, 258 (1982).
  3. J. H. Paul, W. H. Jeffrey, “Measurement of Diameters of Estuarine Bacteria and Particulates in Natural Water Samples by Use of a Submicron Particle Analyzer,” Curr. Microbiol. 10, 7 (1984).
  4. M. E. Sieracki, P. W. Johnson, J. M. Sieburth, “Detection, Enumeration and Sizing of Planktonic Bacteria by Image Analyzed Epifluorescence Microscopy,” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 49, 799 (1985).
  5. K. L. Carder, R. D. Tomlinson, G. F. Beardsley, “A Technique for the Estimation of the Indices of Refraction of Marine Phytoplankters,” Limnol. Oceanogr. 17, 833 (1972).
  6. J. R. V. Zaneveld, D. M. Roach, H. Pak, “The Determination of the Index of Refraction Distribution of Oceanic Particulates,” J. Geophys. Res. 79, 4091 (1974).
  7. M. Tanaka, T. Nakajima, T. Takamura, “Simultaneous Determination of Complex Refractive Index and Size Distribution of Airborne and Water Suspended Particles from Light Scattering Measurements,” J. Meteorol. Soc. Jpn. 60, 1259 (1982).
  8. N. G. Jerlov, Marine Optics (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1976).
  9. O. B. Brown, H. R. Gordon, “Tables of Mie scattering Functions for Low Index Particles Suspended in Water,” U. Miami Optical Physics Laboratory, Publication M1APW-OP-765 (1971).
  10. Using Brown and Gordon Tables and an assumed concentration of 104 cells/mliter of 5-μm diameter and respective relative indices of refraction of 1.01 and 1.03.
  11. C. M. Yentsch, C. S. Yentsch, “Emergence of Optical Instrumentation for Measuring Biological Properties,” Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 22, 55 (1984).
  12. C. M. Yentsch et al., “Flow Cytometry and Sorting: A Technique for Analysis and Sorting of Aquatic Particles,” Limnol. Oceanogr. 28, 1275 (1983).
  13. G. C. Salzman, P. F. Mullaney, B. J. Brice, “Light Scattering Approaches to Cell Characterization,” in Flow Cytometry and Sorting, M. R. Melamed, P. F. Mullaney, M. L. Mendelsohn, Eds. (Wiley, New York, 1979).
  14. B. J. Price, V. H. Kollman, G. C. Salzman, “Light Scatter Analysis of Microalgae,” Biophys. J. 22, 29 (1978).
  15. D. H. Tycko, M. H. Metz, E. A. Epstein, A. Grinbaum, “Flow-Cytometric Light Scattering Measurement of Red Blood Cell Volume and Hemoglobin Concentration,” Appl. Opt. 24, 1355 (1985).
  16. E. Haugen, R. Selvin, Assistant Curator of the Center for Culture of Marine Phytoplankton; personal communication.
  17. R. R. L. Guillard, J. Ryther, “Studies on Marine Planktonic Diatoms I. Cyclotella nana Hustedt and Detonula confervacea (cleve) Gran,” Can. J. Microbiol. 8, 229 (1962).
  18. P. Latimer, “Light Scattering by a Structured Particle: the Homogeneous Sphere with Holes,” Appl. Opt. 23, 1844 (1984).
  19. P. Latimer, “Light Scattering by a Homogeneous Sphere with Radial Projections,” Appl. Opt. 23, 442 (1984).
  20. S. Asano, M. Sato, “Light Scattering by Randomly Oriented Spheroidal Particles,” Appl. Opt. 19, 962 (1980).
  21. S. Asano, “Light Scattering by Horizontally Oriented Spheroidal Particles,” Appl. Opt. 22, 1390 (1983).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited