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Bio-Rad TC20 Automated Cell Counter

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The TC20 automated cell counter counts mammalian cells in one simple step using its innovative auto-focus technology and sophisticated cell counting algorithm to produce accurate cell counts in less than 30 seconds.

Upon insertion of a counting slide, the TC20 cell counter rapidly provides a total cell count (with or without trypan blue staining) and assesses cell viability via trypan blue exclusion.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Compatible with a broad range of cell sizes and types — counts cell lines, primary cells (from tissue or blood), and stem cells
  • Innovative auto-focus technology — removes the variation associated with manual focusing and leads to precise cell counts in 30 seconds
  • Cell size gates — user selects a population of interest in complex samples, such as primary cells, or lets the cell counting algorithm do all the work
  • Cell viability — analyzes cells accurately using multifocal plane analysis
  • Easy to archive and analyze — stores up to 100 counts in the onboard memory for access any time, or use the optional TC20 data analyzer software on your PC to further analyze exported cell images

Getting all the data you need about your cell cultures is fast and easy; the TC20 cell counter and disposable counting slides eliminate the need for tedious setup, cleaning, or maintenance. The TC20 cell counter is simple and intuitive to use — learn to use the TC20 automated cell counter in the introduction video or take a virtual test drive.

 The TC20 automated cell counter has replaced the TC10™ automated cell counter. If you own the TC10 automated cell counter, please visit the Accessories tab on this page to order additional kits, reagents, and accessories for your ongoing work using the TC10 cell counter. Please note that all accessories are compatible with both the TC20 and TC10 automated cell counters.

Get Accurate and Reproducible Results

The TC20 automated cell counter uses microscopy with auto-focus that analyzes multiple focal planes to identify the best plane. Without requiring any user input, the sophisticated cell counting algorithm uses the image acquired from the best focal plane to identify cells and exclude debris, thereby calculating the total cell count. The auto-focus leads to highly reproducible cell counts with reduced user-to-user variability compared to a hemocytometer and cell counters with manual focus. Using auto-focus instead of subjective manual focusing is especially important when assessing cell viability because an incorrectly selected focal plane will lead to inaccurate results.

Unlike cell counters based on electrical impedance (Coulter principle), the TC20 image-based analysis allows the user to view the cells in real time, providing visual proof that the TC20 cell counter has correctly identified cells.

The TC20 automated cell counter provides accuracy comparable to results obtained with a hemocytometer. It can count cells with a 6–50 μm cell diameter and within a broad concentration range of 5 x 104–1 x 107 cells/ml, which eliminates the need to dilute cells, thus reducing errors associated with sample dilutions prior to counting. Read more about how the TC20 compares to a hemocytometer.

This automated counter uses disposable counting slides with a patent-pending design that ensures even distribution of cells throughout the counting chamber, regardless of the user's pipetting style, allowing every user to accurately and consistently count cells.

For complex samples composed of multiple cell populations, such as primary cells, users can adjust the cell size gates to define the population of interest that will be counted. When counting multiple sample replicates, the TC20 automated cell counter can save the position of the cell size gates and apply them to subsequent counts.

When user-defined gates are enabled you can select a population of interest by adjusting the position of the cell size gates.

Cell Viability

The TC20 automated cell counter uses multifocal plane analysis to assess cell viability. The conventional method of analyzing viability using a single focal plane can lead to inaccurate conclusions because light scattering and the alignment of cells at different heights in a counting chamber can change the appearance of cells — live cells may appear to be dead and vice versa. To determine whether cells are viable, the TC20 counter analyzes each cell using images acquired from multiple focal planes during the focusing step. Find out more about the advantages of multifocal plane analysis.

Minimize Your Sample Preparation

The broad concentration range of the TC20 automated cell counter eliminates the need to dilute cells prior to counting, reducing the errors associated with sample dilutions that may be necessary when counting cells by other methods. The counting algorithm discriminates and counts individual cells within clusters of up to five cells, providing accurate counts without the need to extensively declump cells prior to loading.