The basis of flow data analysis is the visualization of fluorescence intensities on XY-plots. Each cell is represented by a dot placed as specific spot on the XY-plot. Correlations between fluorescent markers can easily be visualized and “gated” for. Gating is a tool with which one can separate a specific subpopulation from the rest of the data within one analyzed cell sample and visualize it on a separate plot. This allows the identification of rare events and rare subpopulations.
As the flow data also contains a time stamp for each analyzed cell, the visualization of fluorescent intensities over time is very easy and allows for the analysis of fluorescent changes over time. This capability makes flow cytometry very popular for kinetic analysis including calcium flux, membrane potential and ROS.