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HydraHarp 400
Jul 2009
PicoQuant GmbHRequest Info
Multichannel Picosecond Event Timer
BERLIN, July 24, 2009 – PicoQuant GmbH has announced an extended version of its HydraHarp 400 multichannel picosecond event timer and time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) system that now can accommodate up to eight independent input channels. Each channel is based on a time digitizer with 1-ps resolution, a processing rate of 12.5 million counts/s, a short dead time and low differential nonlinearity.

The modular system can be fitted with two, four, six or eight identical input channels and a common sync channel. The large number of input channels qualifies the instrument for use in advanced applications such as diffuse optical tomography. All channels operate independently but with a common crystal time base so that not only TCSPC histograms but also picosecond coincidence correlations across all channels can be obtained. The latter is of interest in single-molecule work and in quantum information processing research.
A time-tagged data collection mode provides to the host computer a stream of individual timing events that can be processed and analyzed for photon burst detection, coincidence correlation, and combined measurement of fluorescence lifetime and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. The high timing resolution qualifies the system for use with high-resolution detectors such as a microchannel plate photomultiplier tubes.

Overall time resolution of 30 ps can be achieved. And the instrument also can be used with all other common single-photon detectors. Fully software controlled constant fraction discriminators in all channels ensure precise and optimized timing. Accessories such as pre-amplifiers, attenuators and signal inverters enable adaptation to virtually all signal sources. Sync/excitation sources can be as fast as 150 MHz, but even slow sources can be used efficiently with multistop acquisition.

The onboard histogramming mode is 32 bits deep and provides up to 65,536 time bins for each channel, resulting in a maximum of more than 4 billion counts per time bin and a total time span of 65 ns. The base resolution of 1 ps can be binned in hardware, thereby providing longer histogram spans up to 65 µs. Time spans in time-tagged mode are virtually unlimited. The timing of the individual channels can be shifted with respect to one another and with respect to the sync channel with picosecond resolution via software control. This allows precise temporal alignment under the given experiment conditions without the need for physical adjustments of cable lengths or optical paths.

The system is connected through a USB interface, combining portability across laboratories with plug-and-play ease of use. The hardware is reconfigurable by software for implementation of different measurement modes and field upgrades. The software runs on all recent Windows platforms including the x64 versions. It permits control of the hardware as well as convenient data handling and visualization. A programming library for custom software development is also available.

For more information, visit:  

PicoQuant GmbH
Rudower Chaussee No. 29
D-12489 Berlin
Phone : +49 30 6392 6560
Fax: +49 30 6392 6561


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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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