Beckman Coulter

Dr Arnold O Beckman

Dr Arnold O Beckman

I’m always interested to know something about the background of companies who make the instruments I use. In the case of Beckman Coulter, which makes dynamic light scattering equipment, there is a lot of information to research. Particle characterisation is just one of many areas in which this organisation supplies products and services. Even within that category, the photon correlation spectroscopy (for measuring sizes and size distributions) and electrophoretic light scattering (for measuring zeta potential) instruments are not the only ones on offer.

In short, Beckman Coulter is behind a vast range of products that help in the simplification, automation and innovation of complex biomedical tests. You will find its diagnostic systems all over the world in hospital and other critical care environments, where they are used to provide medical staff with information needed for diagnoses, decisions on treatment and monitoring of patients’ conditions. In life science research, Beckman Coulter instruments are used to help unravel complex biological problems – leading, for example, to discovery of disease causes and identification of potentially effective drugs and therapies.

The company’s history dates back to 1935, when Dr Arnold O Beckman sold the world’s first commercial pH meter – an instrument he had invented and built himself. In the next 25 years his pH meter, along with other innovations such as the DU spectrophotometer and heliport potentiometer, became widely used in the scientific, medical and industrial fields.

The company never stopped expanding and innovating. In the 1980s and 1990s the focus was on development of laboratory systems to aid biological analysis, which transformed technological advances into new solutions for clinical laboratories.

In 1996 immunoassay was added to the list of specialisms and in 1997 the company became Beckman Coulter with the acquisition of the Coulter Corporation. This added haematology, flow cytometry and haemostasis to the growing list. Beckman Coulter now offered a broader portfolio of laboratory testing products than any other single source.

A further acquisition in 2009, of Olympus Diagnostics Systems, with its ultra-high throughput clinical chemistry systems, extended the company’s geographical as well as product range.

But while the range of its products and technologies is large, it is important to note that biomedical testing still remains Beckman Coulter’s sole focus.

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