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RMS 2020 - Bigfoot:
Theoretic Basics of Spectral Cell Sorting
Nov 24th, 2020, 16:00 GMT

Propel Labs
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Discover the Cutting Edge Bigfoot Cell Sorter.

Spectral • High Throughput • Biosafety

The Bigfoot Cell Sorter with Sasquatch Software (SQS) provides the power, safety, performance and flexibility for your lab's research today and into the future.

Watch the launch video

Sorting and Analysis

The first of its kind, Bigfoot allows both spectral sorting and spectral analysis on cell populations.

Bigfoot high end configurations take advantage of the large number of lasers and detectors and allow spectral unmixing for both analysis and sorting.
The experiment wizard assists the user in running controls, identifying potential issues and applying the unmixing algorithms to produce high quality data.
Bigfoot allows both sorting and analysis on spectrally unmixed data or compensated data, streamlining workflow from panel development to high speed sorting for all your users.
View the whitepaper
High Throughput

High Speed

Time for Plate Completion

Configurable, quick and calibrated. Bigfoot's high throughput is in a league of its own; up to 10x faster than the competition.

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Class II

With a custom-designed Class II biocontainment cabinet, Bigfoot provides both safety and sample protection that is ergonomically optimized for sorting workflow.

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Sample Input


6 input positions
Bigfoot enables sampling from 1.5, 5 and 15mL tubes with automatic tube type sensing and built-in crash detection.
The integrated wash station reduces carryover and on-board calibration beads allow programmable, automated startup and calibration.
Using the built-in agitation and temperature control (4-37°C), Bigfoot maintains the integrity of your samples from start to finish.


Gentle with fragile cells
Bigfoot's jet-in-air sensing is gentle with fragile cells, maximizing viability with a wide range of nozzle tip sizes while taking advantage of high sort speeds and yield.
Ease of use is improved and short to long term variability reduced with automated 5-axis stream alignment and QC.
Bigfoot supports 50, 70, 100, 120, and 150µm nozzle tips
Integrated control systems ensure optimal droplet formation persistence and position stabilization over time ensuring accurate drop delay maintenance through the day.
Designed with ease of use in mind, the nozzle storage station and swap tip wizard simplify the workflow and reduce user errors during setup. Watch the video
Built-in bubble detection notifies the user and automatically stops sample, reducing dead volume.


With custom electronics, firmware, and software designed specifically for high-performance sorting, the Bigfoot has the power and flexibility to tackle your application challenges.
Proprietary electronics simultaneously collect high-dynamic range data for measured peak, area, and width for every channel to accurately characterize your sample.
High-end performance
The 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.
Dynamic window extension ensures full data collection for every sample.
Without user interaction, the electronics automatically configures the optimal laser delay for different nozzle sizes and pressures.
Flexible configuration allows for independent sort logic setups built from 64 total bivariate gates of up to 512 x 512 resolution, along with multiple modes for purity, enrichment, and drop envelopes.


The Bigfoot optical platform adapts to your needs with flexible laser options and optimized filter sets.

Up to
Up to


Hot-swappable bulk fluid bottles

Hot-swappable bulk-fluid bottles allow for a full shift of operation, or for continuous operation by changing during a sort. Optional kits are available for connecting to house DI and waste to reduce the need to fill and empty bulk fluid tanks.

water baths and air compressors

No external support components are needed – goodbye external water baths, vacuum pumps, and compressors.

Optional adjustable monitor

Optional, adjustable monitor and keyboard arms provide ergonomically-optimized flexibility over multiple heights and positions.

On board cleaner

On-board cleaner, decontamination, and sheath concentrate bottles allow for automated sheath mixing as well as system rinsing and cleaning without manual intervention.

Convenient storage

Convenient storage is provided for adapters, spare parts, and tubes to help reduce cluttered lab space.



SQSoftware utilizes a clean user interface with intuitive workflow and integrated features allowing simplified acquisition, analysis and sorting.

Startup, quality control and drop delay processes are all automated and let you program the system to be ready when you are.
Helps with experimental design for both standard and spectral experiments and warns of potential conflicts.
System health monitoring provides status and control, giving you the freedom to walk away from the system while still monitoring experiments from your phone or tablet and to startup or shutdown remotely.
Acquire and store files at 100,000 events per second, up to 100 million events per FCS file with all parameters enabled reducing rare event detection time.
With reports such as system usage, quality control, trending and sort summary, information is presented clearly for further analysis.
Bigfoot generates FCS files that are compatible with other analysis software packages.
Features including overlays, color-gating, back-gating, index sorting and ratio plots give you added capability to display and publish data.

Application Data

Consistent path lengths and optimal optical filter layout give you the maximum of optimal detection and sensitivity at every wavelength at each detector.

8-peak bead resolution

Spherotech* 8-peak beads run on the Bigfoot Cell Sorter show signal resolution in key channels.

Analysis of human blood

Data below shows a multi-color panel run on a 9-laser Bigfoot Cell Sorter. The panel shown defines T-cell subsets using lysed whole blood from a normal donor. Antibodies used are CD45 FITC, CD3 Alexa 532, CD4 BUV395, CD8 APC, CD16BV510, CD56 PE, CD19 PE-Cy5.5, CD20 Alexa700, CD25 PE-eFluor610, CD127 BV421, TCRgd PerCP-eFluor710, CD14 PE-Cy7, CD45RA BV711 and CD45RO BV786. The data is shown with spectral unmixing and biexponential scaling.

Analysis of human blood
Customer Care


System health
With multiple cameras and sensors throughout, Bigfoot system health provides feedback on all subsystems and logs status for proactive troubleshooting.
While ensuring the proper initialization and launching of SQS the launcher also provides the most secure method of installing and updating instrument software.
Cloud-based instrument reporting allows our knowledgeable team to support your system with the fastest response, increasing your up time.
Manage email notifications to save time and streamline your workflow - helping you support your end users.

Brochure available for download


Whitepapers available for download

View the whitepaper
The system operates from 100-240V AC 50/60Hz with a maximum draw of 800W and requires a dedicated circuit. A UPS is standard with all Bigfoot Cell Sorters and extends protection to the workstation and monitor. A canopy connection for the biocontainment system is available if your facility requires the cabinet to be ducted into your ventilation system. The system operates from 100-240V AC 50/60Hz with a maximum draw of 800W and requires a dedicated circuit. A UPS is standard with all Bigfoot Cell Sorters and extends protection to the workstation and monitor. A canopy connection for the biocontainment system is available if your facility requires the cabinet to be ducted into your ventilation system.
No, the AMS is a separate internal system included on the Bigfoot.
No, the air system is integrated into the Bigfoot.
No, the cooling system for your sample and sort output is integrated into the Bigfoot.
The minimum configuration to support spectral analysis and spectral sorting is a five laser system with 48 fluorescence detectors.
Bigfoot is designed to give the flexibility of traditional compensation or spectral unmixing for sorting.
No, the Bigfoot system’s electronics are capable of meeting all acquisition and sorting specifications regardless of the number of channels or configuration selected.
Yes, we will offer an offline version for Spectral Analysis and experiment design.
Yes, the FCS files follow the standard and can be opened by common analysis packages.
Yes, Bigfoot collects global FCS data and so you can compare your major populations to your sorted population. Since all events are tagged with their output destination, they can be indexed following the sort.
Yes, Bigfoot will sort over 10x faster than other cell sorters with excellent accuracy. It will also sort into a variety of plates from 96 wells up to 1536 well plates.
Yes, 6-way sorting into tubes is fully supported with sophisticated algorithms to minimize side stream fanning.
Bigfoot has “Virtual 18-way sorting”, allowing the investigator to set up sort logic for up to 18 tubes that will be sorted six tubes at a time.
Bigfoot has up to five scatter channels which can include small particle and polarized options.
Bigfoot will support remote monitoring on smartphones for those systems connected to the Propel Labs Cloud Service.

Sensitivity <100 MESF for FITC, PE, APC; <0.2µm FSC resolution with small particle detection module
Sample Input 6 tube input positions for 1.5mL, 5mL, or 15mL tubes; temperature control (4-37°C) and agitation for all positions
Sort Output 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. Temperature control (4-37°C) for all media types.
Nozzle 50, 70, 100, 120, and 150µm ceramic nozzle tips with adjustable pressure settings
Biocontainment Integrated Class II biocontainment cabinet for protection of sample and user. Separate AES for sort chamber evacuation.
Excitation Up to nine lasers. Options include:
349nm 445nm 532nm 594nm 785nm
405nm 488nm 561nm 640nm
Detection Up to 60 parameters including FSC and SSC
Speed 100,000 eps acquisition and 70,000 eps sorting with all 60 parameters
Data processing

Simultaneous measured peak, area, and width for every channel

24 Bit data for peak and area to maximize dynamic range

True measured width at half-height

Low noise converters and proprietary digital processing reduce channel noise

Bulk fluids 2 x 4L bulk fluid tanks on board for DI water and waste. 4L bottle for sheath or sheath concentrate. Two 1L on board cleaners. Optional kits available for connecting to house DI and waste.
Power 100-240VAC 50/60Hz; 800W max
Dimensions 99cm W x 99cm D x 177cm H
Weight 400kg
Operating system Windows* 10
Software SQSoftware
FCS format FCS 3.1
QC Automated quality control and drop delay with multi-peak, on-board calibration beads
Workstation 8-core i7-9700k processor, 32GB RAM, and 2TB PCIe SSD
Monitor 32-Inch 4k
  • CE, Class I (1) laser product
  • Research Use Only