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Counting Photons with Picosecond Resolution

Jul 2008
PicoQuant GmbHRequest Info
•  1-ps-resolution time digitizer
•  USB 2.0 plug and play
 •  dead time <80 ns

PicoQuant_hydra.jpgPicoQuant GmbH has announced a multichannel time-correlated single-photon-counting system called the HydraHarp 400. The modular design allows up to four input channels correlated to picosecond precision for research use in single-molecule studies and quantum information processing, including quantum cryptography. It also is suitable for time-of-flight measurements and lidar, photon burst detection, coincidence correlation and the combined measurement of fluorescence lifetime and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.

At the heart of the instrument is a novel time digitizer with 1-ps resolution, allowing its use with high-resolution detectors such as microchannel plate photomultiplier tubes. The processing rate is 12.5 million counts per second per channel. Although the channels operate independently, they all use the same crystal timer, and there is a common synchronization channel. There is an adjustable input delay with a ±100-ns range and picosecond resolution for each channel. Dead time is <80 ns. The instrument has a USB 2.0 interface that provides plug-and-play performance for computer control, and there is a time-tagged time-resolved mode for data capture that aids its analysis. Each histogram bin has a capacity of more than 4 billion counts. The device can accommodate sources of up to 150 MHz, and it has multistop capability for slow repetition rates.

The instrument is a compact box with modular expansion capability and draws a maximum of 50 W at 100 to 240 VAC. Its software runs on Microsoft Windows and controls the hardware as well as the data analysis.


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