The FluoTime 300 "EasyTau" is a fully automated, high performance fluorescence lifetime spectrometer with steady-state and phosphorescence option. It contains the complete optics and electronics for recording fluorescence decays by means of Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC) or Multichannel Scaling (MCS). The system is designed to be used with picosecond pulsed diode lasers, LEDs or Xenon lamps. Multiple detector options enable a large range of system configurations. With the FluoTime 300 decay times down to a few picoseconds can be resolved.
The sample chamber contains a versatile sample holder (standard: cuvette, optional: front-face). Temperature control of the cuvette holder is possible by attaching an external thermostat (tubing for the circulating fluid is pre-installed) or with an optional peltier-cooled single- or multi-cuvette sample holder. A cryostat can be integrated for measurements at low temperature.
The FluoTime 300 is designed to be used with picosecond pulsed lasers or LEDs. These flexible excitation sources are available in a very broad wavelength range from 255 nm to 1550 nm. They can be varied in output power and operated at any repetition rate from single shot to 80 MHz (depending on wavelength) and thus allow to match the excitation conditions ideally to the sample requirements. A specialized driver unit of the PDL Series, the PDL 820, is used to control the individual excitation source.
For steady-state and phosphorescence measurements, the FluoTime 300 can be equipped with a Xenon arc lamp and/or a Xenon flash lamp. Both lamps work in the spectral range between 200 nm and 900 nm and include a dedicated high-resolution monochromator.
TCSPC data acquisition
The data acquisition module PicoHarp 300 contains the complete timing electronics for Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC). The system works in forward start-stop mode, still operating at laser repetition rates up to 84 MHz. The temporal resolution can be selected to be as short as 4 picoseconds and the maximum full time span extends up to 33 µs. A separate data acquisition board for decays up to several hundred milliseconds (phosphorescence) is also available.
The PMA detector unit is recommended for the majority of applications in the spectral range between 200 nm and 900 nm. The unit has a built-in high voltage power supply, signal pre-amplifier for optimal timing performance and a nickel coated aluminum housing for maximum shielding. With this detector unit, an Instrument Response Function (IRF) shorter than 200 ps can be achieved. An alternative detector, based on the Hamamatsu R3809 series microchannel-plate photomultiplier tube (MCP-PMT), combined with fast laser sources, can achieve an IRF of less than 50 ps. For measurements in the infrared up to 1400 nm, a dedicated photomultiplier of the Hamamatsu H10330 series can be attached to the FluoTime 300. Cooling is available for all detector types to reduce the number of dark counts.
System software "EasyTau"
The FluoTime 300 features an intuitive and easy-to-use system software. All measurement data files and all related analysis results are stored in a clearly arranged workspace, which resembles the familiar tree structure of a hard drive directory. Data dependencies are thus visible at first glance. Specifically designed application wizards guide the user through the necessary steps for performing typical measurement tasks such as fluorescence lifetime measurements, anisotropy measurements, collection of emission spectra or Time-Resolved Emission Spectra (TRES). An additional customized measurement mode for individual full instrument control is also available for more sophisticated application tasks including, for example, scripted data acquisition.
Measurement data can be directly transferred to the established FluoFit software for decay analysis. The FluoFit software features global decay analysis with an easy-to-use graphical user interface and presentation-ready numerical and graphical output. It implements an iterative reconvolution fitting routine with nonlinear error minimization. Various exponential decay models (up to fourth order) or rate constant distribution models can be fitted to the observed decay in order to determine the fluorescence lifetime(s) or to study fluorescence anisotropy.