Tecan | Spark® Cyto


Spark Cyto is a multi-mode plate reader with fluorescence imaging and cytometry capabilities, unlocking new possibilities for your cell-based research. By combining live cell imaging with industry-leading detection technologies, you now have the ability to unite qualitative and quantitative information into unique multi-parameter data sets.

Your cells don’t stay static when you leave the lab, so your research requires a dynamic instrument that ensures you never miss a key event. Spark Cyto works in rea-time, using parallel data acquisition and analysis- to deliver meaningful insights faster than before.

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    orders above SGD$300

More insights delivered in real-time, uncover new approaches with Spark Cyto

More cells analyzed

Spark Cyto uniquely brings together top-of-the-range camera components with proprietary patent-pending technology to ensure that you can truly investigate your entire cell population. It gives you the ability to record the whole well area of a 96- or 384-well microplate with just one image, without tiling or distortion. This means that you never miss a cell when investigating the total cell population in a microplate well. Spark Cyto includes three magnification levels combined with four channels for fluorescence and bright field imaging, enabling high quality cell analysis for a wide variety of applications.

More parameters measured

Spark Cyto is available in configurations, building on the foundation of the Spark multimode reader platform. It combines sophisticated imaging with proven multimode reader capabilities, allowing you to define new approaches to your research and obtain robust orthogonal data faster than ever before.

More throughput for your experiments

Spark Cyto can be extended with an automated multi-plate cell incubator or integrated in Tecan’s fully automated workflow solutions.

More experimental control

Designed to handle a broad range of common cytometry applications, Spark Cyto gives you a new level of experimental control without compromising on ease of use and convenience. Five predefined methods for common cytometry applications offer a straightforward approach to image acquisition and analysis, complemented by additional features such as ‘user-defined’ parameters and Real Time Experimental Control (REC™), making it possible for you to unlock new application possibilities

Spark Cyto capabilities*


  • Nuclei counting
  • Transfection efficiency
  • Cell viability
  • Apoptosis
  • Confluence assessment
  • Cell migration and wound healing
  • ELISAs
  • Low-volume DNA/RNA quantification
  • Nucleic acid labeling efficiency
  • Protein quantification
  • Reporter gene assays
  • HTRF®, DELFIA®, LanthaScreen®
  • Transcreener®
  • DLR®
  • BRET – including NanoBRET®

Detection modes

  • Fluorescence imaging (blue, green, red, far red)
  • Bright field imaging
  • Digital phase contrast-imaging
  • Absorbance – incl. UV/VIS
  • Fluorescence top and bottom
  • Time resolved fluorescence (TRF)
  • Full spectral scanning capability for all measurement modes
  • FRET
  • Fluorescence polarization (FP)
  • Luminescence – glow, flash, multicolor, scanning
  • AlphaScreen®, AlphaLISA® and AlphaPlex®

Additional features

  • Reagent dispensers with heater and stirrer
  • Humidity Cassette
  • NanoQuant Plate™
  • QC tools for IQ/OQ services
  • Spark-Stack™ microplate stacker
  • Multi-plate automated cell incubator extension

Five predefined applications, even more possibilities

Intuitive image acquisition and analysis methods

Spark Cyto takes a user-friendly approach to the most common cytometry applications:

  • confluence
  • nucleic counting
  • transfection efficiency
  • cell viability
  • cell death

For all other applications simply select the ‘user-defined’ option to easily set up your own method in SparkControl™ or use the ‘image-only’ feature to export your files to a third-party image analysis software. This gives you complete flexibility in meeting your respective assay requirements.


Use the bright field imaging channel to provide a quick overview of a well’s cell density. Cell confluence is calculated automatically by the software and displayed as a yellow overlay for easy visual confirmation. In addition, you can customize the roughness factor, a qualitative measurement, as a simple indicator of cell death.

Nuclei counting

Optimized for Hoechst 33342, this function provides an easy method for cell counting on the Spark Cyto, using any blue fluorescent dye with nuclear DNA binding capabilities.

Transfection efficiency

This application is designed to automatically determine the transfection rate for cells containing green fluorescent protein (GFP), a widely used reporter for gene expression, and counter-stained with Hoechst 33342 blue nuclei dye. The green and blue images are overlaid and analyzed to determine the resulting transfection efficiency in the cell population.

Cell viability

Spark Cyto’s preset cell viability application relies on a common double staining approach to discriminate between live (green) and dead (red) cells in a population. Using two fluorescent dyes, suach as calcein AM (live cells) and propidium iodide (dead cells), you can image and analyze your population in minutes.

Cell death

The detection of, and discrimination between, apoptosis and necrosis can be accomplished by differential staining of markers characteristic of the relevant type of cell death, for example, with Hoechst 33342, propidium iodide and Annexin V-FITC.

Multi-Color analysis

Spark Cyto’s easy to use Multi-Color application is ideal for counting and analyzing cells with multiple labels, using a fluorescence marker for the nucleus and up to two additional labels to automatically characterize your cells.

Even more possibilities

Spark Cyto’s Method Editor offers two unique options for researchers looking to customize their assay:

  • User-defined protocols – set up specific imaging protocols for automated image acquisition and analysis
  • Imaging only – allowing acquisition and export of files to any third-party image analysis software, such as Image J or CellProfiler.

Real Time Experimental Control (REC™) – never miss a critical biological event!

REC grants you the ability to create new experimental workflows in your lab. Combining standard detection technologies, imaging capabilities and additional unique features, such as integrated humidity and environmental controls, REC unlocks new research possibilities.

REC uses all of these features to enable set-up of workflows that ensure you never miss a critical biological event – without chaining you to the bench.

Complete environmental control comes as standard

Spark Cyto comes equipped with a unique set of environmental features for controlled measurement conditions in your microplate:

  • Uniform temperature control (up to 42 °C)
  • Dynamic gas control (CO2 and O2)
  • Humidity control via Lid Lifter™ and Humidity Cassette

In combination, these features allow you to maintain a stable environment for your assays, effectively eliminating the risk temperature fluctuations or evaporation could pose to your results. Spark Cyto is the only instrument to put these features right at your fingertips.

All of these functions are easily programmed and controlled with SparkControl software.

Humidity control for optimal evaporation protection

Maintaining humidity levels of 95 % or higher is essential for unimpaired cell viability and growth, and miminizing evaporation is essential for maintaining consistent concentrations during long-term assays. Spark’s patent-pending Humidity Cassette is a cost-effective solution to minimize evaporation.

Lid Lifter

Spark‘s integrated and patented lid lifting function creates new workflow possibilities, reducing the risk of sample contamination and helping to establish an ideal environment for long-term kinetic assays. Whether you want to dispense reagents without the need for manual intervention or maintain optimal environmental conditions without compromising evaporation protection, Spark Cyto is the only reader to offer this benefit.

Software designed for long-term studies

Spark Control combines automation of long-term kinetic assays with advanced features such as kinetic conditioning and remote monitoring, providing a hands-off solution for complex experimental set-ups.

Cell-based kinetic experiments require specific actions to be performed once a certain signal threshold is reached. Multimode readers without conditional kinetics make these studies cumbersome and potentially error-prone. SparkControl’s kinetic conditioning feature allows you to program the system to automatically perform any required action as soon as a predefined signal is reached, enabling all the assay workflows you can think of.