Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter

Innovative sorter for high-performance, flexibility, safety, and scalability
The Propel Labs Bigfoot team is now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific

The Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter team from Propel Labs is now a part of Thermo Fisher Scientific. The innovative sorter, now part of the Thermo Fisher product family, provides high performance, flexibility, safety, and scalability to meet laboratory needs today and in the future.

Delivers high performance and high throughput for versatility

The Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter supports configurations with up to nine lasers (349nm, 405nm, 445nm, 488nm, 532nm, 561nm, 594nm, 640nm, 785nm) and 60 detectors, delivering versatility for both standard fluorescence detection and spectral unmixing. Multiple scatter options enhance flexibility with simultaneous standard and small particle detection, multi-laser scatter detection, and polarization.

60 detector locations

Up to 60 Detectors


Adapts to your multi-color applications with flexibility for optical filter changes to meet changing requirements.

With sort rates >70,000 eps and analysis rates of >100,000 eps, the Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter is fast and configurable. The sorter is capable of 6-way sorting into tubes, 4-way sorting into 96 well plates, 8-way sorting into 384 well plates or straight down sorting into 1536 well plates. In addition, virtual 18-way sorting allows researchers to separate multiple populations from a single sample or different samples. 

A massively parallel, pipelined architecture eliminates hard aborts and allows complex, high color experiments with up to a 60 x 60 compensation matrix or spectral unmixing without limiting instrument performance. Proprietary electronics simultaneously collect high-dynamic range data for measured peak, area, and width for every channel to accurately characterize your sample.


Download the whitepaper for more information.

High-throughput Plate Sorting

Spectral histogram

Spectral Sorting

The Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter supports spectral sorting and analysis on cell populations


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Realtime Spectral Cell Sorter

Built-in automation for ease-of-use

Advanced automation and software allow operators with all levels of knowledge to use and control the system with confidence. Integrated control systems ensure optimal droplet formation persistence and position stabilization over time ensuring accurate drop delay maintenance through the day.


To streamline workflow and reduce user errors, automated stream calibration and drop delay simplify sort setup while bubble detection notifies the operator and stops the sort to preserve precious samples. Integrated temperature control (4-37°C) and agitation maintain sample integrity for sample input while temperature control of the output maintains the viability of sorted samples.


Status monitoring by software


Manages and Monitors


The Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter software, SQS,  manages key functions such as drop delay and monitors system health and sort status for walk away operation. 

Flexibility to support a range of cell types and applications

The Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter’s jet-in-air sensing is gentle with fragile cells to maximize viability at high sort speeds, minimizing impact on yield.  A swap tip wizard simplifies setup of 50, 70, 100, 120, and 150 μm nozzle tips.

Swap Tip Wizard


Simply unscrew the retaining collar to remove and replace with a new tip or a tip of a different size. After replacing the retaining collar, the Swap Tip Wizard performs automatic QC adjustments to optimize the stream position.

For added flexibility, the system enables sampling from 6 input positions that automatically detect the tube size (1.5, 5, or 15mL) based on the adapter used. Precise single-droplet targeting ensures unprecedented accuracy, recovery, and speed down to single-cell sorting. User configurable sort output holders include 1.5, 5, 15, and 50mL tubes, microwell plates up to 1536 wells, microscope slides, and 10x chips.

Sample loader

Sampling for 6 input positions


The Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter sample loader has 6 input positions that let you load multiple samples for sorting or analysis. The instrument detects the adapter type as the loader moves from one sample to the next to ensure proper loading.


Download the whitepaper for more information.

Multi-sample loader for efficiency


Integrated biosafety cabinet for operator and sample protection

The Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter features an integrated Class II biocontainment cabinet, which meets the equivalent functional personnel and product protection standards for a Class II Type A2 biosafety cabinet defined by the National Sanitation Foundation International Standard 49.  The custom designed cabinet provides safety and protection without compromising high parameter sorter performance or impacting workflow.  A separate aerosol management system meets ISAC guidelines for cell sorters.

Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter

Biosafety Cabinet and Aerosol Management


An adjustable sash maintains containment while allowing easy access to the nozzle and sample/sort areas providing constant user protection. A dedicated aerosol management system (AMS), HEPA filter and software provides containment warnings and increases flow if a clog is detected.


Download this whitepaper for more information.

A new approach to cell sorter safety



Excitation Lasers 349nm, 405nm, 445nm, 488nm, 532nm, 561nm,  594nm, 640nm, 785nm
Optical power Free space delivery of 349nm (100mW), 405nm (100mW), 445nm (200mW), 488nm (125mW), 532nm (100mW), 561nm (100mW), 594nm (100mW), 640nm (100mW), 785nm (100mW)
Beam alignment Fixed, 7 spatially separated pinholes
Detection parameters 55 fluorescence + 5 scatter
Scatter parameters Standard FSC and SSC 488nm; Small particle FSC 405nm; depolarized FSC and SSC 488nm
Scatter resolution <0.2µm scatter resolution from background with small particle detector
Pulse measurement Simultaneous measured peak, area, and width for sample input and output ofevery channel
Fluorescence sensitivity <100 MESF for FITC, PE, APC


Nozzles 50, 70, 100, 120, and 150µm ceramic nozzle tips with adjustable pressure settings
Sample input tube types 1.5mL, 5mL, and 15mL
Temperature control 4°C-37°C for input and output of all media types
Agitation Automatic based on input tube type


Event rate >100,000 eps acquisition with all 60 parameters
Sorting speed >70,000 eps with all parameters enabled
Sort devices Up to 6-way sorting into tubes; configurable tube holders include 1.5mL, 5mL, 15mL, and 50mL adapters. Multi-way micro-well plate sorting up to 1536 wells.


Compliance testing The system has been verified to be functionally equivalent to personnel and product protection standards for a Class II Type A2 biosafety cabinet per NSF International Standard 49. Separate AMS for sort chamber evacuation


Dimensions 99cm W x 99cm D x 177cm H
Fluidics cart None
Weight 400kg
Monitor 32-Inch 4k
Power supply 100-240VAC 50/60Hz
Power consumption 750W max (Instrument, PC and monitor)
Relative humidity 20-60% RH


For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.