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Flow cytometry explores, analyzes, counts, and sorts small particles. With the increasing demands for higher data quality from researchers, clinicians, and manufacturers, component builders for these systems are being driven to increase the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), rather than just the signal. SNR is a widely applicable engineering term referring to the relative size of the real signal (or signal variations) compared to random errors (noise) in the observed signal.
Blood sample tubes after analysis. Courtesy of iStock.com/chfonk.
On a low-quality video, for example, poor SNR may make it impossible to read small text, because the characters (signal) are obscured by random intensity variations (noise). Similarly, it’s…