All Oxford Nanopore sequencing devices rely on flow cells for sequencing to take place — this is where the nanopores are housed. MinION flow cells are compatible with MinION, our pocket-sized portable sequencer, and GridION, our compact desktop sequencer. With a theoretical output of 50 Gb per MinION flow cell, GridION, which holds up to 5 MinION Flow Cells can generate up to 250 Gb of data. Flongle is an adapter for MinION Flow Cells that enables direct, real-time sequencing, on smaller, single-use Flongle Flow Cells, which can generate up to 2.8 Gb. PromethION is designed to use up to 48 PromethION Flow Cells at a time, each capable of generating up to 290 Gb per flow cell for large-scale projects requiring ultra-high throughput.

The choice of device, and number of flow cells enables nanopore sequencing to be fully scalable — from pocket to population. Oxford Nanopore devices are built with a flexible approach in mind and the larger devices can be run with a single, or multiple flow cells, depending on experimental needs. Flow Cells can be added at any point, without disrupting those already sequencing.

Flongle flow cell

The Flongle Flow Cell can generate up to 2.8 Gb of data enabling direct, real-time DNA & cDNA sequencing on smaller, single-use flow cells.

MinION flow cell

The MinION Flow Cell can generate up to 50 Gb of data for sequencing DNA, cDNA or native RNA in real-time.

PromethION flow cell

The PromethION Flow Cell can generate up to 290 Gb for sequencing DNA, cDNA or native RNA in real-time.

What's inside a flow cell

Oxford Nanopore devices are based around a core sensing unit — a nanopore set in an arrayed sensor chip — used alongside a bespoke Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), which controls and measures the experiments.



A protein nanopore is set in an electrically-resistant polymer membrane. Learn more about nanopores here.


Array of microscaffolds

Each microscaffold supports a membrane and embedded nanopore. The array keeps the multiple nanopores stable during shipping and usage.

Array chip

Sensor chip

Each microscaffold corresponds to its own electrode that is connectedAn array chip to a channel in the sensor array chip. Sensor arrays may be manufactured with any number of channels.



Each nanopore channel is controlled ASICand measured individually by the bespoke ASIC. This allows for multiple nanopore experiments to be performed in parallel. More than one ASIC may be included in a device and Oxford Nanopore is building ASICs of different sizes for different purposes.

Flow cells can be reused and recycled

We encourage users of our technology to send their used flow cells back to us once they have reached the end of their useful life. We’re able to recycle some of the electrical components of the flow cells returned to us, in turn reducing the impact of our products on the environment.

Got flow cells to return?
Flow cell recycling box
Flow cell QC diagrams

We also encourage users to re-use their flow cells where possible. Using the Wash Kit, you can expect to reuse a flow cell up to five times. Customers can also run a platform QC prior to a run, to evaluate how many of the nanopores are available to begin their sequencing experiment. Finally, with real-time sequencing, customers can stop their sequencing run once a result has been achieved, therefore enabling them to get more out of every flow cell.

Learn more about the advantages of real-time sequencing


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