Fluorescence Spectrometers

FluoTime 300

High Performance Fluorescence Lifetime and Steady State Spectrometer

  • Fully automated system with modular and flexible design
  • Time-resolved and steady-state operation
  • Easy to use software with application wizards and scripting option
  • Lifetimes from picoseconds to milliseconds
  • Ultimate sensitivity with 29 000:1 Water Raman SNR
  • Double monochromator in excitation and emission available, switchable between additive and subtractive in emission
  • NEW: FluoMic add-on provides a fast, easy, and reliable way to carry out steady-state and time-resolved luminescence spectroscopy with a micrometer sized, positionable observation volume.

Virtual Show Day: Get a closer look at the FluoTime series

FluoTime Show Day 2021On June 17th, 2021, we held our first FluoTime Show Day. During this virtual event, a group of guests got an in-depth introduction by Christian Oelsner (Application Specialist for Spectroscopy) and Uwe Ortmann (Head of Sales and Application Specialist for Spectroscopy and Microscopy) to PicoQuant’s spectroscopy products and their capabilities. The session showcased how our products can help you in your daily research tasks. A major highlight was the FluoMic add-on, which provides a fast, easy, and reliable way to carry out steady-state and time-resolved luminescence spectroscopy with a micrometer sized, positionable observation volume. You can now request the recording of the FluoTime Virtual Show Day from our webinar website.

High performance fluorescence spectrometer

The FluoTime 300 is a fully automated, high performance fluorescence spectrometer for steady-state, life time and phosphorescence measurements. The FluoTime 300 contains the complete optics and electronics for recording steady state spectra and fluorescence decays by means of Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC) or Multichannel Scaling (MCS) from few picoseconds to several seconds. The system is designed to be used with picosecond pulsed diode lasers, LEDs or Xenon lamps (CW and pulsed). Multiple detector options enable a large range of system configurations from the UV up to the IR range. The system features an ultimate sensitivity with 29 000:1 Water Raman SNR. The FluoTime 300 can be used to study fluorescence and phosphorescence decays from few picoseconds to several seconds. With a large range of additional accessories the system is an excellent standard for research and analysis.

Versatile sample mounting units

Versatile sample chamber of the FluoTime 300 A newly designed series of sample mounting units is now available
for the FluoTime 300.

Each sample mounting unit is designed around modular sample holders (standard: cuvette, optional: front-face), which allow a quick and easy change between different sample configurations, e.g., liquids, powders, or wafers. 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 range of available sample holders also includes a front face version for samples of up to 2 inch size. The holder permits to change position and angle of the sample with respect to the direction of excitation and detection from outside of the sample compartment. This special feature is extremely useful for an on-line optimization of the beam position on the sample while the measurement is running.

Flexible excitation sources

PicoQuant's PDL 820 laser driver with LDH laser headd and pulsed LEDs from the PLS SeriesThe FluoTime 300 is designed to be used with picosecond pulsed lasers, LEDs and Xenon flash lamps. Pulsed laser and LEDs 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) as well as in pulse bursts at low repetition rate intervals. This special feature allows to match the excitation conditions ideally to the sample requirements, from fluorescence with short lifetimes to weak phosphorescence. A specialized driver unit of the PDL Series, the PDL 820, is used to control the individual excitation source. The FluoTime 300 can also be equipped with a Xenon arc lamp and/or a Xenon flash lamp which enable excitation at any wavelength from 200 nm to 900 nm. Along with a dedicated high-resolution monochromator steady-state excitation spectra become possible.

TCSPC and MCS based data acquisition

TimeHarp 260 -  TCSPC and MCS board with PCIe interfaceSeveral outstanding data acquisition units are available for time-resolved as well as steady-state fluorescence measurements. The TimeHarp 260 PICO offers an adjustable temporal resolution from 25 ps to 5.2 ms and is therefore the perfect choice for measuring steady-state and time-resolved emission with lifetimes ranging from a few ten picoseconds up to several milliseconds. The TimeHarp 260 NANO is a dedicated MCS board that has a minimum base resolution of 250 ns and no dead time between channels. The TimeHarp 260 NANO is therefore ideally suited for steady-state measurements or for lifetime measurements up to the second time scale. Any of these data acquisition units are the perfect match for systems equipped with a detector of the PMA Series or PMA Hybrid Series.

For measuring ultrafast dynamics the PicoHarp 300 offers an even better temporal resolution (4 ps) and is therefore recommended for FluoTime 300 systems equipped with a fast PMA Hybrid PMT (-06 or -07) or MCP-PMT detector. In that case even dynamics of tens of picoseconds can be resolved.

Several available detector types

Hybrid photomultiplier detector assembly from the PMA Hybrid SeriesThe FluoTime 300 uses single photon counting detectors of various types, attached to an exit slit of the emission monochromator. The system can work with one or two detectors. The available detectors are either photomultiplier tubes (PMA Series or NIR-PMTs), Hybrid-PMT modules (PMA Hybrid Series) or Microchannel Plate Photomultiplier Tubes (MCP-PMTs). The detectors offer picosecond temporal resolutions and cover different spectral ranges between 180 nm and 1700 nm. Each detector includes an electro-mechanical shutter, optional cooling, and an overload protection that can be operated from the system software.

NEW -07 and -42 cathodes with spectral ranges between 220 and 870 nm, detection efficiency up to 25 %


System software "EasyTau 2"

Screen shot of the EasyTau 2 software performing an anisotropy decay analysisThe 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. Steady-State and time-resolved measurements can be performed alternatively from the same software interface.The software features three data acquisition possibilities. Specifically designed application wizards guide the user through the necessary optimization steps for performing typical measurement tasks such as fluorescence lifetime measurements, anisotropy measurements, collection of emission spectra or Time-Resolved Emission Spectra (TRES). For those familiar with the technique, a customized measurement mode for full instrument control is also available. More sophisticated application tasks, like, for example, alternating between time-resolved decays and steady-state spectra at different temperatures over night, can be easily performed through scripted data acquisition using the integrated scripting language of the EasyTau 2 software.

Steady-state and time resolved data can by analyzed through the same software interface. EasyTau 2 provides both basic data manipulation (such as arithmetic, derivation, integration, or smoothing) and fitting functions. The software’s global decay analysis features an easy-to-use graphical user interface that is capable of producing presentation-ready numerical and graphical output. Both tail and iterative reconvolution fitting routines with nonlinear error minimization are supported. Various exponential decay models (up to fifth order) or rate constant distribution models can be fitted to the observed decay to determine the fluorescence lifetimes or to study fluorescence anisotropy. Robust error analysis can be carried out with the bootstrap method.

Course on time-resolved fluorescence

Logo Time-resolved Fluorescence CoursePicoQuant annually holds the European short course on "Principles and Applications of Time-resolved Fluorescence Spectroscopy". The course is intended for individuals wishing an in-depth introduction to the principles of fluorescence spectroscopy and its applications to the Life Sciences. The course is held in cooperation with Prof. J.R. Lakowicz from the Center of Fluorescence Spectroscopy (CFS) in Baltimore and consists of lectures as well as instrumentation and software hands-on training. For details see the course website.

Detailed specifications are available for download as a PDF document.

Optical configuration
  • L-Geometry
Mode of operation
  • Steady State Operation
  • Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC)
  • Multichannel Scaling (MCS)
  • Signal-to-noise ratio (optical noise) typically better than 29 000:1, as measured with double monochromators in the exciation and emission light path, PMA175 Detector and Starna water standard, excitation wavelength 350 nm, spectral bandwidth 5 nm, integration time 1 s
Lifetime range
  • < 40 ps to 10 µs with PMT detector and TCSPC electronics
  • < 10 ps to 10 µs with Hybrid detectors, TCSPC electronics, and suitable laser
  • < 10 ps to 10 µs with MCP-PMT detector, TCSPC electronics, and suitable laser
  • Up to several 100 ms with any detector and MCS electronics
Excitation sources
  • Picosecond pulsed diode lasers or LEDs 260 - 1990 nm with repetition rates up to 80 MHz, common driver unit
  • High power and UV lasers (VisUV, VisIR)
  • Sub-microsecond pulsed Xenon flash lamp
  • 300 W Xenon arc lamp
  • External lasers such as Titanium:Sapphire, pulsed DPSS or white light lasers
  • Czerny-Turner type
  • Focal length: 300 mm, one or two exit slits; double monochromator 2 x 300 mm, one or two exit slits (switching between additive and substractive in emission)
  • Grating with 1200 g/mm, blazed at 500 nm and 600 g/mm, blazed at 1250nm (other gratings on request)
  • Slit width adjustable between 0 mm and 10 mm (continuously adjustable, completely motorized), dispersion 2.7 nm /mm (single, 300mm focal lenght)
  • Stray light rejection typically 1:10-5 (single monochromator), 1:10-8 (double monochromator)
  • Photomultiplier Tubes (PMTs) with various spectral ranges and sensitivities between 185 and 920 nm
  • Microchannel Plate Photomultiplier Tubes (MCP-PMTs) with various spectral ranges between 185 nm and 910 nm
  • UV/VIS - NIR PMT covering wavelenght ranges from 200 to 1010 nm
  • Infrared sensitive Photomultiplier Tubes (PMTs) with different spectral ranges between 950 nm and 1700 nm
  • Hybrid-PMT with various spectral ranges and sensitivities between 200 nm and 900 nm
  • Easy to use, comprehensive, Windows based system and analysis software
  • Data archiving in workspace, data export features, data arithmetic
  • Assisted mode using Wizards for standardized measurements
  • Customized mode with full control of all hardware parameters
  • Scripting mode for automation of routine measurements
  • Remote execution of scripts (extension of automation to 3rd party devices)
  • Lifetime analysis based on numerical reconvolution procedure, up to 5th exponential decay functions, lifetime distributions, anisotropy, global analysis, rigorous error analysis

All Information given here is reliable to our best knowledge. However, no responsibility is assumed for possible inaccuracies or omissions. Specifications and external appearances are subject to change without notice.

NEW FluoMic brings the FluoTime 300’s power and versatility to remote samples

The FluoMic add-on combining a FluoTime 300 and a microscopeThe FluoMic add-on provides a fast, easy, and reliable way to carry out steady-state and time-resolved luminescence spectroscopy with a micrometer sized, positionable observation volume. A special fiber coupler unit allows interfacing the spectrometer with most microscopes.Thanks to its pre-aligned optical fibers, both pulsed and CW light sources of the FluoTime 300 can be used to excite materials located in an external device. Emitted light is collected from a small area (down to 2 µm) and brought back to the detection arm of the FluoTime 300 via a detection fiber, adding spatial resolution to the spectrometer’s capabilities. Thus, the broad palette of wizard-guided or customized steady-state and time-resolved applications supported by EasyTau 2 can be applied to remote samples.

Check out this White Paper (PDF), which showcases the capabilities of the FluoMic add-on.

Advanced Automation for Time-resolved Spectroscopy

FluoTime 300 coupled to workstation Biomek NXP from Beckman-CoulterThanks to a newly implemented interface for remote execution of scripts, the FluoTime 300 can be coupled to third-party accessories such as the liquid handling automation workstation Biomek NXP from Beckman-Coulter. This combination allows to extend the automation to loading and removing of samples from the spectrometer, simplifying the work flow for both high-throughput applications and obtaining spectroscopic snap shots at well defined time points. With such a reduction in your spectroscopic work load, you can concentrate on the most interesting tasks: analyzing and interpreting your results.

Watch the demonstration video.

Several specialized sample holders

FluoTime 300 - Sample mounting unit with fiber coupling sample holderSample holder with fiber coupler
This unit features a fiber coupler allowing interfacing an optical microscope with the FluoTime 300. In this way, the spectrometer can be used to record either steady-state or time-resolved luminescence spectra from a sample mounted in the microscope. The full range of optical elements from the FluoTime 300 can be used along with the analytical tools of the EasyTau 2 software packages to investigate light originating from the microscope focal volume.

FluoTime 30ß -Sample mounting unit with front face sample holder Adjustable front-face sample holder
The sample mounting unit is provided with a front face sample holder designed for samples sizes of up to two inches. The sample holder has external adjustments for accurate change of sample position and angle with respect to the direction of excitation and detection. The accessory comes with a slide clamp insert or an inclined sample holder insert (shown).

FluoTime 300 - Sample mounting unit with 4-position holder for 1x1cm cuvettesPeltier cooled four position cuvette sample holder
The sample mounting unit is provided with a four position peltier cooled holder for 1x1 cm cuvettes. The temperature range of the sample holder is -15° C to 110° C and fully controlled by the EasyTau 2 operating software allowing both set of temperature and map measurements to be carried out.

FluoTime 300 - Sample mounting unit with temperature stabilzed holder for 1x1cm cuvettesTemperature stablized cuvette sample holder
The sample mounting unit is provided with a temperature stabilized sample holder for 1x1 cm cuvettes. Cable glands for water circulation on the front side of the unit make it possible to connect the sample holder with an external water bath for temperature stabilization.

FluoTime 300 - Sample mounting unit with temperature controlled holder for 1x1cm cuvettesPeltier cooled cuvette sample holder
The sample mounting unit is provided with a peltier cooled holder for 1x1 cm cuvettes. The temperature range of the sample holder is -15° C to 110° C and fully controlled by the EasyTau 2 operating software allowing both set of temperature and map measurements to be carried out.

Sample mounting unit for wafers and flat samplesWaferCheck sample holder
This sample holder is designed for investigating wafers and flat samples with a maximum diameter of 2 inches. The sample is placed horizontally on the holder to perform measurements at various spots. To select the sample positions, the holder has external dials for linear as well as rotational adjustment.

Several specialized detectors

UV/VIS-NIR-PMT detector for the FluoTime 300UV/VIS-NIR-PMT detector
These PMT detector is suitable for single photon counting up to the NIR. The R2658P features an InGaAs semiconductor photocathode. The PMT covers the wavelength range from 200 nm up to to 1010 nm. The PMT package acomes with all necessary options like peltier cooling housing, power supply, preamplifier and the HV voltage.

NIR-PMT detector suitable for the FluoTime 300NIR-PMT detector
These special photomultipliers are suitable for single photon counting in the NIR. The H10330-45 features an InGaAsP photocathode and is sensitive in the wavelength range from 950 nm to 1400 nm. The H10330-75 variant has an InGaAs photocathode and its sensitivity range is extended to 1700 nm. The module has a thermally insulated sealed-off housing evacuated to a high vacuum. No liquid nitrogen, vacuum pumps nor water cooling is necessary.

FluoTime 300 - cooled MCP-PMT detectorMCP-PMT detector
These are the fastest photon counting detectors today. Various photocathode materials cover the wavelength range from 160 nm to 910 nm. Using this detector and Ti:Sapphire laser excitation, instrument response functions as short as 32 ps were achieved with the FluoTime 200. The modules have a dedicated high voltage power supply. Optionally, they can be mounted into a thermoelectrically cooled housing. In this case, water cooling is necessary.

Integrating sphere

FluoTime 300 - Intergrating sphere for absolute quantum yield measurementsFor all scattering samples, the use of an integrating sphere to measure the absolute photoluminescence quantum yield is mandatory. The FluoTime 300 features an integrating sphere for solutions as well as for solid samples. It is able to reproduce published literature data of selected quantum yield standards such as Rhodamin 6G, Coumarin 153, and Ru(bpy)3.

Sample holders to emasure at low temperatures

FluoTime 300 - liquid nitrogen cryostatLiquid nitrogen cryostat
The sample chamber is large enough to accommodate an Oxford Instruments OptistatDN series cryostat. This optional component allows low temperature photoluminescence measurements to be made. Precise control of the sample temperature is possible with various cryostat types from 2.3 K to 500 K. A stand-alone digital cryostat controller is included.

FluoTIme 300 - Closed cycle helium cryostatClosed cycle helium cryostat
The closed-cycle helium cryostat CS-204 is a compact, axially symmetrical, closed-cycle cryocooler. This cooler is ideal for small heat loads such as sample cooling applications. This cryostat enables low temperature photoluminescence measurements from 4 K to 500 K.

FluoTime 300 - Sample mounting unit for liquid nitrogen dewarDewar for measurements at 77 K
The sample mounting unit is provided with a quartz Dewar in a special designed support allowing clear access to the sample from all four directions. This is an inexpensive alternative to a cryostat for measurements at 77 K. The sample is positioned in a quartz sample rod that is submerged in liquid nitrogen. The sample mounting unit comes with a top hat lid for the sample chamber.

Determining electron-hole diffusion lengths in
perovskite solar cells

Determining electron-hole diffusion lengths in perovskite solar cells using a FluoTime 300A critical parameter in understanding the photophysics of semiconductor solar cells is the diffusion length of the photo-excited electrons and holes in the material. Time-resolved photoluminescence quenching experiments are a valuable tool for determining diffusion lengths. The example shows data obtained from mixed halide and triiodide organometal perovskite layers in presence of either an electron (blue) or hole (red) quenching layer, or a PMMA coating (black). The decay curves were recorded at 780 nm, corresponding to the peak emission of both materials. The measured decay dynamics can be fitted to a diffusion model, allowing to derive diffusion lengths. Here, the diffusion length of the electrons and holes in the mixed halide perovskite was 1 μm while the triiodide material featured a much shorter length of 100 nm, correlating well with performance of these materials as solar cells.


Reference: S. D. Stranks et al., Science, 342 (2013), p.341

Singlet oxygen produced by H2TTP

Spectrum and lifetime of singlet oxygen produced by H2TTP in H2O recorded with a FluoTime 300

The figure on the left shows the steady-state spectrum of the singlet oxygen emission produced by H2TTPS in acetone and even in H2O, which is especially challenging due to the spectral overlap of water and singlet oxygen emission. The graph on the right additionally shows the time-resolved singlet oxygen measurement using the burst mode feature of the FluoTime 300, i.e. first multiple laser pulses are used to deposit energy into the sample and then the excitation is stopped long enough to capture the comparably slow decay of the sample. A tail fit yields a lifetime of 3.4± 0.3 µs, which is in excellent agreement with the published literature value.


TRPL of a GaAsP quantum well system

Transient TRPL spectrum of a quantum well illuminated at 595 nmTransient TRPL spectrum of a quantum well illuminated at 595 nm and measured with a fluorescence lifetime spectrometer showing (a) the layer structure of the quantum well and (b) the time-resolved emission spectrum (TRES) of the wafer. The first peak at 650 nm stems from the Al0.4Ga0.6As-barrier, the peak around 735 nm from the GaAsP quantum well and the peak around 860 nm from the n-GaAs layer and the GaAs substrate. Each spectral channel can be described with a three-component exponential model. The average lifetime and the longest component of the fits are displayed. The measurement exemplifies the correlation of characteristic charge carrier dynamics in material specific spectral channels of the multi-component system.


Excitation spectra of the 650 nm peak of the quantum well shows interaction of the bandsExcitation spectra of the 650 nm peak of the Al0.4Ga0.6As-barrier (blue), of the quantum well layer( light green) and of the n-GaAs-layer and GaAs substrate (dark green). The spectrum of the quantum well layer shows a prominent drop in intensity around 650 nm indicating the interaction with the barrier layer. The n-GaAs-layer and GaAs substrate on the other hand show an increase in intensity around 650 nm, which correlates with the absorption edge in the barrier at wavelengths longer than the barrier band gap. The rectangles illustrate the band gaps of the corresponding layers.


Fluorescence upconversion using NaYF4:Yb/Er

Measuring and analyzing the fluorescence upconversion using NaYF4:Yb/Er with the FluoTime 300

The left figure above shows the steady state upconversion spectrum of NaYF4:Yb/Er solved in cylcohexane. The figure on the right side above displays time resolved measurement of the same sample of NaYF4:Yb/Er solved in cylcohexane. The excitation of the sample was performed in a burst mode, i.e. first multiple laser pulses are used to deposit energy into the sample and then the excitation is stopped long enough to capture the comparably slow decay of the sample. The analysis of the data reveals a single fluorescence lifetimes of 113 µs.

Luminescence spectrum of Er/Yb up-conversion nanoparticles dispersed in cyclohexane

The figure on the right side shows the upconversion luminescence of Er/Yb nanoparticles solved in cyclohexan. Excitation was done at 980 nm using LDH-D-C-980 laser from PicoQuant. Integration time was 2 s/point. In that configuration measurements of quantum yields are possible.



Sample courtesy of T. Nyokong, Rhodes University, South Africa
Sample courtesy of Dr. U. Resch-Genger, BAM

Dynamic anisotropy of Coumarin 6

Dynamic anisotropy of Coumarin 6 recorded and analyzed using a FluoTime 300The dynamic anisotropy of Coumarin 6 was studied using the FluoTime 300. The system automatically set the sample temperature, and at each temperature step, four measurements were automatically performed: IRF  and VV (parallel), VH (perpendicular), and VM (magic angle) polarized decay measurements. A quick analysis of VV and VH decays clearly shows temperature dependent behavior of the emission anisotropy. For detailed quantitative results, global reconvolution anisotropy analysis of the data set was performed. A model of a single, spherical, rotating particle with a single exponential fluorescence lifetime proved to describe the system very well, as expected for a small, highly polar particle in polar solvent. The result reveals the slightly temperature dependent single exponential fluorescence lifetime of Coumarin 6. The temperature dependence of the viscosity could be fitted to the experimentally obtained change of the rotation correlation times. Even a precise calculation of the steady-state anisotropy values was possible which were found to be in perfect agreement with the anisotropy values estimated by the Perrin equation.


The FluoTime 300 is a high performance fluorescence lifetime spectrometer with a steady-state add-on. It can be used to study various samples and perform several applications, including:

Latest 10 publications referencing FluoTime 300

The following list is an extract of 10 recent publications from our bibliography that either bear reference or are releated to this product in some way. Do you miss your publication? If yes, we will be happy to include it in our bibliography. Please send an e-mail to info@picoquant.com containing the appropriate citation. Thank you very much in advance for your kind co-operation.