Flow Cytometry - Services

Welcome to the Flow Cytometry Core Facility

Our Flow Cytometry Core Facility is often colloquially called FACS Facility, although Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting only represents a specialized application of flow cytometry. Thus, what is flow cytometry?

cyto = cell, metry = measurement, flow = cell suspension in motion

Flow cytometry is measuring physicochemical properties of single cells or other (biological) particles while these are in a fluid stream and pass, one by one, laser light in the flow cytometer.

Hence, figuratively speaking, a flow cytometer is an automated fluorescence microscope measuring intra- and extracellular characteristics of cells that are visualized by means of scattered light and fluorochrome labelling.

BD FACSCanto II SORP optics (photo: A. Gompf)

What is flow cytometry good for?

  • millions of cells can be analyzed within a short period of time
  • various properties of these cells can be analyzed simultaneously (multiparametric analysis)
  • it provides statistical information very quickly
  • isolation of highly pure subpopulations of interest from a heterogeneous cell suspension by Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)

Flow cytometry allows the simultaneous measurement of:

  • relative cell size
  • cellular complexity (e.g. intracellular granules/granularity or multi-nucleated cells)
  • relative fluorescence intensity (e.g. of endogenously expressed fluorochrome reporters or fluorochrome-conjugated antibodies)

The Flow Cytometry Core Facility offers analysis and sorting of single cells in a cell suspension on the ­basis of non-fluorescent and fluorescent characteristics.

We also provide access to analysis computers and software packages (FlowJoTM - FlowJo, LLC/BD; IDEAS® - Amnis/Luminex; FlowLogicTM - Inivai Technologies/Miltenyi).

Additionally, we offer assistance and advice in the following areas:

  1. initial project planning,
  2. fluorochrome panel design and optimization,
  3. sample preparation and processing,
  4. instrument operation, and
  5. data analysis.

Moreover, the Core Facility regularly organizes seminars and hands-on training courses in flow cytometric analysis and sorting.

An introductory training and brief formal orientation is mandatory for all users before beginning using the Flow Cytometry Core Facility. You will then get an account for the online booking system as soon as you hand in certain registration forms available from the facility staff.


To get an appointment for cell sorting with the facility staff, please contact us by email. If you are new to flow cytometric sorting or have a new experiment, let's have an informal meeting to discuss your project.

Hours of operation: Facility staff is usually available from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday, with the possibility of extended sorting hours upon request. All flow cytometers and data analysis computers are available to experienced self-operators 24 hours/day - 7 days/week.