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Spark® 10M

multimode microplate reader

Ignite the productivity in your laboratory

Engineered with cellular assays in mind.

Discover the Spark 10M multimode microplate reader from Tecan and accelerate your research in your laboratory for cell based assays.


Trade in offer until Dec, 31st 2016

SPARK 10M highlights

Cell Counting & viability analysis

Automated microscopy enables live cell imaging and confluence measurement in parallel with quantitative readouts.

Faster, more reliable cell analysis can be performed with Spark’s dedicated cell modules. Spark 10M is answering that need by automating a variety of cell counting applications:

  • High precision visual, label-free cell counting, even at low concentrations
  • One-click live/dead analysis
  • Replicate processing of multiple samples in a disposable cell slide for fast, simple mean-value calculations, greater accuracy and more precise data
  • Accurate, reproducible cell counting with flexible area selection for greater sensitivity, even at low cell concentrations
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Automated cell imaging and confluence measurements

Life cell imaging for QC and confluence measurements boost your confidence for cell-based assays.

In general, you don’t know how many cells have adhered to the bottom of a microplate well, or even grown, over a certain period of time. With the Spark 10M, it is now possible to automatically measure cell confluence and image cells within the well of a microplate. This allows the system to automatically inject a compound or measure a signal once a user-defined cell confluence is reached, normalising results across several wells to ensure more reliable data and complete confidence in your cell-based assays.

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Automated microplate lid handling

Minimize evaporation and contamination with automated microplate lid handling.

Spark 10M gives you the efficiency of using the reagent injector and lidded microplates without manual interference. Dispense compounds during a long kinetic run by automatically de-lidding the microplate inside the reader with the built-in lid and patented handler. It further optimizes gas exchange and evaporation protection while enabling walk-away operation during long-term experiments requiring environmental protection and reagent dispensing.

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Automated live cell analysis

Integrated cell incubator with robotic microplate lid handler and reagent dispenser.

Spark 10M offers precise O2/CO2, temperature and humidity control for your live cell assay, providing the ideal cell conditions with all standard microplates. Integrated automated lid handling precisely balances gas exchange and evaporation protection for live cell kinetic assays and even allows for automated reagent injection during the experiment.

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Absorbance with High Speed Monochromator (HSM)

Full absorbance spectrum scan in less than 5 sec with the new High-Speed Monochromator (HMS)

Spark 10M outperforms other systems with its patent pending High Speed Monochromator (HMS) that delivers a spectrum in just 5 sec with a range from 200-1000nm. Ultra-fast measurements can now be performed with an unsurpassed wavelength accuracy for DNA and protein quantification. Experience the speed of a diode array with the precision and flexibility of a monochromator from the UV to NIR.

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Fusion Optics

Revolutionary optical design merging exceptional sensitivity with flexibility.

Based on Tecan´s proven Quad4 monochromator technology, Spark 10M´s new Fusion Optics is the first optical solution to combine true monochromator flexibility with filter sensitivity for a single fluorescence measurement. Freely set a wavelength via monochromator or a filter on both the excitation and emission side. For the first time ever – enjoy sensitivity and flexibility from both the top and bottom of your sample.

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Accelerate your research with the Spark 10M.

  • Cell counting and viability analysis
  • Automated cell imaging
  • Automated cell confluence
  • Cell incubation
  • Evaporation protection
  • Automated microplate lid handling
  • Reagent dispensing with heating and stirring
  • Te-Cool™ cooling
  • Absorbance
  • DNA quantification
  • NA labeling efficiency
  • Cuvette port
  • Fluorescence intensity
  • Time-resolved fluorescence (TRF)
  • Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)
  • Time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET)
  • Fluorescence polarization
  • Luminescence (flash and glow)
  • Alpha Technology
  • Luminescence scanning
  • Multi-color luminescence (BRET1, BRET2™, BRET3, Chroma-Glo™)
  • SparkControl™ software
  • SparkControl Magellan™
  • QC tools (IQ/OQ services)
  • Connect™ microplate stacker

SPARK 10M software highlights

Fast and simple instrument operation

A drag-and drop interface makes it easy to define even complex assays

SparkControl‘s user-friendly, tile-based dashboard offers simple, one-click operation, putting all applications at your fingertips.

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One-click run of applications

Run your applications instantly

One-click applications increase your productivity, getting you from sample to results faster than ever before. Use a single mouse click or even execute a run by your finger tip on a touch screen monitor.

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Instant access to applications

Get instant access to application methods and enjoy easy operation

Enjoy easy operation with SparkControl’s one-click, workflow-based interface. The software makes it easy and intuitive to translate your workflow into a protocol that can be saved, run and edited at any time.

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High definition well scans

High definition well scans for a complete
picture of your cells

High definition well scanning provides a complete picture of the cell population in
each well for more accurate signals, even with inhomogeneous cell layers. The
software generates an averaged result for your entire selected area and even shows
a qualitative image of the cell distribution.

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Unparalleled flexibility for luminescence

Optimize your assays with Spark’s multi-color luminescence option

Spark´s luminescence option offers an excellent dynamic range of 109 using up to 3 OD attenuation, with 40 user-selectable filters to provide unprecedented freedom for virtually any luminescence measurements, including BRET1,2,3 and Chroma-Glo.

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Easy software control of O2/CO2/Temp

Easily adjust environmental conditions via SparkControl™ software

SparkControl makes it easy to adjust parameters during a run, including environmental conditions such as temperature (even below ambient with Te-Cool) and the CO2 and O2 levels inside the reader.

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Spark 10M product video

Spark has been designed and built to increase throughput and productivity, enabling laboratories to get more done in less time and less space.

Live cell imaging

Automated live cell imaging of A431 cancer cells


Increased Confidence of Wound Healing Assays by Assessing Cell Migration and Cell Viability

Typical performance values*

Spectral Range 200 - 1000 nm  
OD range 0 - 4 OD  
Scan Speed 200-1000 nm ≤ 5 sec  
Wavelength accuracy < 0.3 nm  
Wavelength reproducibility ≤ 0.3 nm  
Wavelenght ratio accuracy 260/230 < 0.08  
Wavelenght ratio accuracy 260/280 < 0.07  
OD precision @ 260 nm ≤ 0.2%  
OD accuracy @ 260 nm ≤ 0.5%  
Limit of detection (DNA) < 1 ng/µl  
Spectral range Ex: 230 – 900 nm; Em: 280 – 900 nm  
Wavelength accuracy Ex: < 1 nm;Em: < 2 nm  
Wavelength reproducibility < 1 nm  
Limit of detection F/F - top ≤ 0.25 pM (≤ 25 amol/well; 100 μl)1)  
Limit of detection M/F - top ≤ 0.35 pM (≤ 35 amol/well; 100 μl)  
Limit of detection F/M - top ≤ 0.35 pM (≤ 35 amol/well; 100 μl)  
Limit of detection M/M - top ≤ 0.5 pM (≤ 50 amol/well; 100 μl)  
Limit of detection F/F - bottom ≤ 2.5 pM (≤ 0.5 fmol/well; 200 μl)  
Limit of detection M/F - bottom ≤ 3.5 pM (≤ 0.7 fmol/well; 200 μl)  
Limit of detection F/M - bottom ≤ 3.5 pM (≤ 0.7 fmol/well; 200 μl)  
Limit of detection M/M - bottom ≤ 4 pM (≤ 0.8 fmol/well; 200 μl)  
Well scanning up to 100 x 100 data points  
Spectral range 300 – 850 nm  
Limit of detection F/F ≤ 1.5 mP 2)  
Limit of detection F/M ≤ 2.5 mP  
Limit of detection M/F ≤ 2.5 mP  
Limit of detection M/M ≤ 3.0 mP  
Limit of detection F/F ≤ 40 fM (≤ 4 amol/well; 100 μl) 3)  
Limit of detection F/M ≤ 65 fM (≤ 6.5 amol/well; 100 μl)  
Limit of detection M/F ≤ 65 fM (≤ 6.5 amol/well; 100 μl)  
Limit of detection M/M ≤ 100 fM (≤ 10 amol/well; 100 μl)  
Spectral range 370 – 700 nm  
Limit of detection (glow) ≤ 9 pM (≤ 225 amol/well; 25 μl) 4)  
Limit of detection (flash) ≤ 218 fM (≤ 12 amol/well; 55 μl) 5)  
Dynamic range > 9 orders of magnitude  
Multi-color luminescence 38 spectral filters; OD1, OD2, OD3 attenuation filters  
Limit of detection ≤ 100 amol/well bio-LCK-P; 20 µl 6)
≤ 2.5 ng/ml Omnibeads; 20 µl 7)
Uniformity ≤ 3.0 %  
z´value ≥ 0.9  
Fastest read time ≤ 2 min (384-well plate)
≤ 1 min (96-well plate)8)
Size range 4 - 90 µm  
Counting accuracy +/- 10% (10-30 µm)  
Counting reproducibility < 10% (10-30 µm)  
Cell concentration 1x104 - 1x107 cells/ml  
Imaging speed incl. data reduction < 30 sec/sample  
Number of samples / run up to 8 samples  
Adjustable concentration range CO2 0.04 - 10% vol.  
Adjustable concentration range O2 0.1 - 21% vol.  
Concentration accuracy CO2 < 1% vol.  
Concentration accuracy O2 < 0.5% vol.  
Syringe sizes 0.5 ml; 1 ml  
Pump speed 100 - 300 µl/sec  
Injection volume 5 - 1000 µl; stepsize 1 µl  
Dead volume ≤ 100 µl  
Injection accuracy and precision ≤ 0.5% at 450 µl  
  ambient +4 °C up to 42 °C  
Uniformity < 0.5 °C  
  linear, orbital, double-orbital; variable amplitudes and frequencies  
  1 - 384 wells; NanoQuant plate; CellChip; cuvettes;Roboflask  
96 well plate (FI) 13 sec  
384 well plate (FI) ≤ 30 sec  
  Dedicated Xenon flash lamp  

* Specifications are subject to change. Performance values represent the average observed factory tested values.
For product specifications refer to operators manual.For product specifications refer to operators manual.
1) Detection limit for fluorescein; Fusion Optics: F-Filter; M-Monochromator
2) FP detection limit @ 1 nm Fluorescein
3) Detection limit for Europium
4) Detection limit for ATP (144-041 ATP detection kit SL (BioThema))
5) Detection limit for ATP (ENLITEN® Kit)
6) (PE# 6760620; P-Tyr-100 assay kit)
7) (PE# 6760626D; Omnibeads)
8) Including temp. correction

Application Notes

For many cell biology applications – such as the identification and separation of high expression clones or knock-down candidates, and small-scale antibody or protein production – it is important to ensure that cell lines originates from a single cell, ie. they are monoclonal. This can be a major bottleneck, especially for academic laboratories, as dedicated automated microscopy systems are both very expensive and complex to operate, meaning verification of monoclonality is often performed by manual microscopy.

HTRF is a time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET)-based assay system for detecting bimolecular interactions. This note describes the validation of the Spark 10M reader for HTRF measurements, including Reader Control kit, cAMP, IP-One, and TNFα.

AlphaScreen is a bead-based screening technology for the detection of biomolecular interactions. The Spark 10M incorporates an easy-to-use, intuitive software solution and pre-optimized measurement protocols for Alpha Technology, ensuring uncompromised performance for AlphaScreen, AlphaLISA and AlphaPlex assays.

Cell counting, viability analysis and determination of size distribution are routinely performed by researchers across multiple disciplines, from standard cell passaging for downstream experiments to using insect cells infected with baculovirus to produce recombinant proteins [1], or determining the differentiation capacity of stem cells...

Assaying cells in an appropriate window of time after a compound-­mediated cytotoxic event can be extremely challenging. This note describes the automation for kinetic monitoring of cytotoxicity and viability using three Promega assays for viability, cytotoxicity and apoptosis assessment with the Spark® 10M multimode reader.

Spark 10M´s enhanced detection module for AlphaTechnology uses a laser light source and pre-optimized filters set perfectly for ultra-sensitive detection. In addition, it offers a real-time temperature correction function to compensate for sample temperature variations across the microplate. This note features the excellent AlphaScreen performance of the Spark10M with regard to sensitivity, uniformity, and speed.

AlphaLISA is a bead-based, homogeneous, no-wash alternative to conventional ELISAs. Spark 10M offers an enhanced detection module for Alpha Technology and Tecan’s well-established real-time temperature correction function. This note describes the detection of human immunoglobulin G (IgG) using the AlphaLISA IgG Assay Kit with the Spark 10M.

The Spark 10M was used to identify metabolic changes during the differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells and to assess and quantify cell viability, cytotoxicity and apoptosis, using several well-established and reliable cell-based assays developed by PromoCell.

The Spark 10M was used for the real-time analysis of human stem cell proliferation and differentiation, using established assays for cell viability, proliferation and apoptosis assessment in a reliable and convenient manner.


We understand the demands of cell-based applications and the challenges they pose every day. You need a plate reader that ensures not only ideal cellular conditions, but also excellent assay results. And that’s exactly what you get with the Spark 10M, which boasts a range of features and capabilities for specialized activities such as fast cell counting and evaluation of cell proliferation by confluence analysis.

Technical Notes

The enhanced luminescence module features multicolor luminescence and measures up to five different luciferases as well as luminescence spectral scanning. Using an innovative filter based approach, simple solutions for various luminescence applications are just a few mouse clicks away with the Spark 10M multimode microplate reader.

Traditionally, plate readers have been using filters or monochromators or a hybrid set up to use either a filter or a monochromator in the optic path. Now, the new Fusion Optic in the Spark allows users to independently choose between filters and MCRs for both excitation and emission independently from each other, offering optimized performance for every application, without the compromises of standard hybrid systems.

The patent-pending, bright field cell imaging module enables label-free cell counting – including size distribution and viability analysis by a single click. This note compares the performance of the Spark 10M’s cell counting module with manual cell counting, and various image-based devices.

This note describes the functions and benefits of the cell imaging module in the Spark 10M plate reader, as well as the SparkControl software and its dedicated cell counting and cell viability One-Click application.

The Spark 10M is equipped with patent-pending High Speed Monochromators (HSM) enabling highly accurate, reproducible and ultra-fast absorbance measurements. The reader automatically measures absorbance at 230, 260 and 280 nm, as well as performing a fast spectral scan from 200 to 1000 nm (in 1 nm increments), typically taking just five seconds per sample and avoiding issues associated with sample evaporation.

The Dual-Luciferase gene reporter assay system is based on assaying two luciferase activities, Firefly an Renilla, respectively. Spark´s unique solution for highly sensitive flash & glow luminescence measurements offers a wide dynamic range of more than eight orders of magnitude. Its enhanced luminescence module can measure multicolor assays with up to five different luciferases, as well as offering spectral scanning.

Red-shifted dyes are increasingly used as they offer lower background compared to dyes in the green spectral range. This note demonstrates the superior performance of the Spark 10M reader because it´s PMT is optimized for the entire spectral range compared to conventional plate readers.

This note describes the optimized test set-ups and Spark 10M instrument settings equipped with the ingenious Fusion Optic system, to determine the best possible detection limit of europium in time-resolved fluorescence intensity reading.

This note describes the optimized test set-ups and Spark 10M instrument settings equipped with the ingenious Fusion Optic system, to determine the best possible detection limit of fluorescein in fluorescence intensity top reading mode (FI top).

This note describes the optimized test set-ups and Spark 10M instrument settings equipped with the ingenious Fusion Optic system, to determine the best possible detection limit of fluorescein in fluorescence intensity bottom reading mode (FI bottom).

This note describes the optimized test set-ups and instrument settings equipped with the new luminescence multi-color solution, to determine the maximum sensitivity of the Spark 10M for flash and glow luminescence readouts.


SPARK® 10M WITH INTEGRATED CELL IMAGING SIMPLIFIES CELL CULTURE, featuring quality checks and SIGNAL NORMALIZATION TO CELL CONFLUENCE, thereby boosting automation of cell-based studies.


Tecan Journal 03/2015

The Spark 10M multimode reader can now be combined with the Connect™ microplate stacker to offer semi-automated batch processing of up to 50 assay plates.

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Tecan Journal 02/2015

Since its launch at SLAS 2015 in February, the park 10M has gained interest from across the life sciences community, with researchers around the world beginning to explore...

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For research use only.