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Cytek® NL-CLC

Performance Data


A new clinical flow cytometry system that maximizes the operational efficiency of clinical laboratories across the board.

The Cytek Northern Lights (NL)-CLC brings the same revolutionary spectral technologies found on other Cytek cytometers to the clinical environment. Its unique optical design and unmixing algorithm increases efficiency by allowing more information to be gleaned from a single tube, saving time and resources. The state-of-the-art optics and advanced electronics provide excellent sensitivity, resolution, and event rate. Flat-top laser beam profiles, combined with a uniquely designed fluidics system, translate to outstanding performance at high sample flow rates.

The end result is a system is that leverages the advantages of full spectrum technology to bring practical benefits to clinical workflows.

SpectroFlo software offers an assortment of efficiency-enhancing tools, that includes portable templates, reusable reference controls and much more.

The Cytek team has reimagined all parts of the clincal workflow paradigm to become a solutions provider for all your diagnostic needs from instrumentation to software and reagent kits.

Remarkable Sensitivity and Data Quality

Sensitivity redefined using state-of-the-art optics and low-noise electronics.

Superb resolution of dim and rare populations, even in high complexity panels and at high flow rates.

Expand panel capabilities without compromising data quality.

Clinical Insights With Less Sample

Reach the same conclusions with fewer tubes.

Saving reagents, precious patient sample, and acquisition time equates to
greater cost savings and improved laboratory efficiency.

Ease of Use

Day-to-day instrument standardization through the Daily QC module provides the capability to re-use reference controls.

Intuitive and easy to use software with capability to transfer experiment and worksheet templates across different systems.



Excitation Optics

Optical Platform

The Cytek Northern Lights (NL)-CLC contains a fixed optical assembly configured with one to three spatially separated laser beams. Laser delays are automatically adjusted during instrument QC.


One laser configuration: 488nm: 50mW
Two laser configuration: 488nm: 50mW, 640nm: 80mW
Three laser configuration: 405nm: 100mW, 488nm: 50mW, 640nm: 80mW

Beam geometry

Flat-Top laser beam profile with narrow vertical beam height optimized for small particle detection.

Emission Optics

Emission Collection

Fused silica cuvette coupled to high NA lens for optimum collection efficiency to optical fibers.

Forward and Side Scatter Detection

FSC: high-performance semiconductor detector with 488nm bandpass filter.

SSC: Two high-performance semiconductor detectors with 405nm and 488nm bandpass filter. Note: 405nm side scatter applies to three laser configurations only.

Fluorescence Detectors

Proprietary high sensitivity Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) semiconductor array per laser enabling more efficient spectrum capture in the 420-830nm range. No filter changes required for any fluorochrome excited by the 405nm, 488nm, and 640nm lasers.

Standard Optical Configuration

Violet detector module (only available in three laser configurations): 16 channels uneven spaced bandwidth from 420nm-829nm.

Blue detector module: 14 channels uneven spaced bandwidth from 498-829nm.

Red detector module: 8 channels uneven spaced bandwidth from 652-829nm.


Sample Flow Rates

Low: 15 µL/min, Medium: 30 µL/min, High: 60 µL/min,

Fluidic Modes

Long clean, SIT flush, Purge filter, Clean flow cell

Manual Sample Input Formats

12x75mm polystyrene and polypropylene tubes

Standard Fluidic Reservoirs

4L fluid container set with level-sensing provided. Compatible with 20L sheath and waste cubitainers.

Volumetric Sensor

Volumetric measurement during sample recording enables calculation of counts per µL for any gated population.


Forward and Side Scatter Resolution

Performance is optimized for resolving lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes and platelets from red blood cells.

Side Scatter Resolution

Capable of resolving 0.2µm beads from noise.



Data Acquisition Rate

35,000 events/s*

* Three-laser system


SpectroFlo® Software

Live unmixing during acquisition

Developed specifically to streamline assay setup, data acquisition, and file export

Automated QC module

Autofluorescence extraction

Raw and Unmixed FCS 3.1 files


Signal Processing

Digital signal processing with automatic window gate adjustment.

22-bit 6.5 log decades.

Threshold using any single parameter or combination of parameters.

Pulse Shape Parameters

Pulse Area and Height for every parameter. Width for scatter parameters and one fluorescence parameter for each laser.


Operating System

Windows® 10 Pro 64-bit


Intel® Core™ i7 processor



Hard Drive

500GB SSD and 1TB SATA

Video Processor



32” UHD 4K Monitor

Installation Requirements

Dimensions (W x D x H)

Instrument Dimensions

54 x 52 x 52 cm

Instrument Weight

Instrument weight: 61 kg

Recommended Workspace

165 x 76 x 132 cm

Room Requirements


100-140 VAC, 15A / 200-250 VAC, 10A

Heat Dissipation

500W with all solid-state lasers




20%-85% relative non-condensing

Air filtering

No excessive dust or smoke


No special requirements

Regulatory Status

The Cytek Northern Lights (NL)-CLC flow cytometer system is is intended for use as an in vitro diagnostic device in countries where the regulatory approval has been obtained from the local regulatory authorities.

Please check with your sales representatives for local status.


SpectroFlo® Software Guided Workflows

SpectroFlo software offers an assortment of efficiency tools, which include portable experiment and analysis templates, reusable reference controls, and much more.

Portable Experiment and Worksheet
Experiment and worksheet templates are designed to be portable within the SpectroFlo work environment. Users can easily transfer templates to other NL-CLC workstations, ensuring consistency across labs. The software’s portability makes it easier to deploy templates across global, multi-site laboratories.
Reference Control Stability and Reusability
Enhanced system stability enable reference controls to be acquired, stored in the library, and reused for future assays. Stored reference controls are automatically adjusted by Daily QC to maintain consistent assay performance across time, effectively eliminating the need to run single color controls with every experiment.

Experiment Workflow
From the Acquisition menu, you can start a new experiment and begin acquiring your data in three simple guided steps.
Step 1: Create Your Experiment Create your experiment, choose fluorochromes, and add labels, tubes, worksheets, and stopping criteria in this guided workflow.
Step 2: Run Your Tubes Load and record your samples.
Step 3: Unmix Your Data Visualize your reference controls spectra using our unique unmixing wizard.

Performance Data

24 Colors With Three Lasers... Is it Possible?

The optical design combined with the unmixing capability in SpectroFlo® software allows greater fluorochrome choice, panel flexibility, and easy setup without having to change filters. The three laser configuration provides outstanding multi-parametric data for a wide array of applications. Markers and fluorochromes in a 24-color panel designed for identification of circulating cell subsets in human peripheral blood are summarized in the table below:

CCR7 Brilliant Violet 421 CD11c BD Horizon BB515 CD27 APC
CD19 Super Bright 436 CD45RA Alexa Fluor® 488 CD123 Alexa Fluor® 647
CD16 eFluor® 450 CD3 Alexa Fluor® 532 CD127 BD Horizon APC R700
TCR γ/δ BD Horizon BV480 CD25 PE HLA DR APC/Fire 750
CD14 Brilliant Violet 510 IgD PE/Dazzle 594
CD8 Brilliant Violet 570 CD95 PE-Cy5
CD1c Brilliant Violet 605 CD11b PerCP-Cy5.5
PD-1 Brilliant Violet 650 CD38 PerCP-eFluor® 710
CD56 Brilliant Violet 711 CD57 PE-Cy7
CD4 Brilliant Violet 750
CD28 Brilliant Violet 785
The 24-Color Panel Includes Many Highly Overlapping Dyes:
Cytek Northern Lights 24-Color Panel Violet Excited Dyes Emission Spectra
Violet Excited Dyes Emission Spectra
Cytek Northern Lights 24-Color Panel Blue Excited Dyes Emission Spectra
Blue Excited Dyes Emission Spectra
Cytek Northern Lights 24-Color Panel Red Excited Dyes Emission Spectra
Red Excited Dyes Emission Spectra
24-Color Data:

The 24-color panel is demonstrated in a healthy donor using a whole blood lyse wash sample preparation.

(Click to Enlarge)

Increase Efficiency With Full Spectrum Cytometry

By enabling deeper biological insights from each sample, the NL-CLC platform improves efficiencies across the entire sample-to-answer workflows for immunophenotyping, hematology, and more.

  • Additional Cost Savings

    Less sample needed to obtain the same amount of information as conventional systems.

    Reduced reagent and consumable costs.

  • Faster time to results

    Decreased time for sample preparation and acquisition.

Example 1: Evaluating Minimum Residual Disease (MRD)

To demonstrate these efficiencies, let's look at a very well-established 3 tube acute myeloid leukemia (AML) MRD assay1 created for a conventional 3-laser (405, 488, and 638 nm) system. To complete the assay, 3 separate tubes must be prepared and acquired. With Cytek's NL-CLC, that same information can be obtained from a single tube. Shown here is a comparison of the panels. Below, a side-by-side comparison of data from the original 3 tube assay, and Cytek’s single tube assay, acquired with the NL-CLC for a fresh bone marrow sample from a healthy donor. The plots displayed follow the gating strategy used in Wood, B.L. (2020)1.

1 - Wood, B. L. (2020). Acute Myeloid Leukemia Minimal Residual Disease Detection: The Difference from Normal Approach. Current Protocols in Cytometry, 93(1). doi:10.1002/cpcy.73

Assays with Cytek NL-CLC uses one tube where conventional 3-laser flow cytometers use three
3-Tube Assay* 1-Tube Assay
Tube Specificity Fluorochrome Specificity Fluorochrome
1 CD13 PC7 CD13 PE-Cy7
1 CD19 PE-CF594 CD19 Brilliant Violet 750
1 CD33 PE CD33 PE
1 CD38 A594 CD38 Brilliant Violet 510
1 CD45 APC-H7 CD45 APC-H7
1 CD71 APC-A700 CD71 APC-A700
1 CD117 PC5 CD117 PE-Cy5
1 HLA-DR Pacific Blue HLA-DR Brilliant Violet 480
2 CD4 ECD CD4 Brilliant Violet 570
2 CD13 PC7
2 CD14 PC5.5 CD14 PE-Cy5.5
2 CD16 APC-A700 CD16 Pacific Blue
2 CD34 APC
2 CD38 A594
2 CD45 APC-H7
2 CD64 FITC CD64 Brilliant Violet 605
2 CD123 PE CD123 Brilliant Violet 421
2 HLA-DR Pacific Blue
3 CD5 PC5 CD5 PE/Dazzle 594
3 CD7 PE CD7 Brilliant Violet 786
3 CD33 PC7
3 CD34 APC
3 CD38 A594
3 CD45 APC-H7
3 CD56 A488 CD56 Brilliant Violet 711
3 HLA-DR Pacific Blue

Note: for non-fresh samples, Zombie NIR was added to all tubes to exclude dead cells from downstream analyses.

*Fluorochromes names in 3-tube assay are copied verbatim from the reference paper for consistency

Figure 1: Comparable Performance Between 1-Tube and 3-Tube Assays
(Click to Enlarge)
High Quality, Full Spectrum NL-CLC Single Tube Patient Data

Below, witness for yourself the stunning resolution and clarity attained with full spectrum data from the NL-CLC. The full spectrum 1-tube assay is demonstrated in 3 different samples: 1) fresh bone marrow from a healthy donor; 2) cryo-preserved bone marrow from a patient in remission from AML; and 3) cryo-preserved bone marrow from a patient recently diagnosed with AML.

(Click to Enlarge)