Analytical Single Photon Counting Fluorescence Spectrometers

For more than 30 years, Edinburgh Instruments has been designing research-grade products to suit the different application requirements of its customers.

The company specializes in producing photon counting and time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) based fluorescence spectrometers, and is renowned for providing excellent quality in both instrumentation and services. In this technical brief, some of the most popular products from Edinburgh’s Photonics division have been discussed in detail.

FLS980 Spectrometer System

FLS980 spectrometer.

Figure 1. FLS980 spectrometer.

The FLS980 is a modular spectrometer system that allows users to perform steady state, phosphorescence and fluorescence lifetime measurements and provides excellent sensitivity of >12,000:1 (Water Raman signal-to-noise).

The system’s spectral range covers the UV-VISNIR, with a choice of analogue detectors and PMTs available. The FLS980 is categorized into phosphorescence and fluorescence lifetime systems.

Using the time-resolved single photon counting (SPC) technique, the phosphorescence lifetime system allows measurements from a few nanoseconds to seconds. The system can even be combined with plate-reader modules or microscopes.

The fluorescence lifetime system employs the ultrasensitive TCSPC technique, which was pioneered by Edinburgh Instruments since 1978. Using the standard system, lifetimes can be measured from 100 to 50 ps, although shorter lifetimes can also be obtained using faster detectors and shorter pulse width lasers.

The FLS980 spectrometers can be equipped with a wide range of options to meet various research requirements. These options include solid sample holders, computer controlled polarizers, integrating sphere, temperature control accessories, stop-flow accessory, CCD cameras and mirror optics. In addition, X-ray or VUV-excitation systems are also available.

Fluorescence spectrometers are used in various applications, such as physics, biophysics, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, life sciences, geosciences, solar energy, drug discovery, medical research and industrial research.

Fluorescence Lifetime Products

Lifespec II Spectrometers

Lifespec II.

Figure 2. Lifespec II.

Edinburgh Instruments offers a range of spectrometers that are custom designed for lifetime measurements using TCSPC. The Lifespec II is a high performance fluorescence lifetime spectrometer, which is part of the popular Lifespec series of spectrometers.

The system has a double emission monochromator in subtractive mode providing zero temporal dispersion. It has a spectral range of 200-850 nm, or 300-1700 nm with an NIR-PMT and is designed for operation with high-repetition rate picosecond/femtoseconds lasers.

miniTau Spectrometers


Figure 3. miniTau.

miniTau is a compact filter based fluorescence lifetime system designed for use with picosecond pulsed lasers and LEDs. It is suitable for routine measurements and research as well as for educational research laboratories.

OB920 Spectrometers

OB920 spectrometer.

Figure 4. OB920 spectrometer.

The OB920 spectrometer is a monochromator-based system and is designed to calculate phosphorescence and/or fluorescence lifetimes. Depending on the excitation source used, a lifetime range of 100 ps to seconds can be measured.

Pulsed Semiconductor Sources

Edinburgh Instruments has designed UV-LEDs and pico-second pulsed diode lasers for TCSPC systems.

These light sources can be used easily and serve as suitable excitation sources for spectrometers. Laser wavelengths ranging from 375 to 980 nm are available, with <100 ps pulsewidths.

LP920 Spectrometer

LP920 spectrometer.

Figure 5. LP920 spectrometer.

The LP920 spectrometer offers a complete, automated turnkey solution for achieving transient absorption spectra and kinetics based on the laser flash photolysis method. This technique analyzes transient biological and chemical species produced by Excimer Pumped Dye laser or the Nd:YAG laser. The LP920 provides high flexibility and easy of use.

The modular design of the system allows it to be configured in three typical settings, such as the LP920K-kinetic system, the LP920S-spectral system, and the LP920KS system. A number of application options are also available, such as temperature control options and stop-flash/ flow accessories.

LP920 K – Kinetic Mode

Using an oscilloscope and detector, the LP920K can determine laser-pulse generated transient absorption kinetics as a function of time. The system is capable of recording the transient kinetics at a single wavelength in a single measurement. Depending on the detector, users can obtain lifetimes from nanoseconds to seconds over a wavelength range of 200-2500 nm.

LP920 S – Spectral Mode

An intensified gated CCD camera is used by the LP920S system to acquire transient absorption spectra measured at a particular time following laser pulse excitation. Depending on ICCD, time resolution of 5 ns can be obtained over the range of 200-870 nm.


Edinburgh Instruments’ designs and produces a wide range of spectrometers that utilize advanced fluorescence methods to suit complex application needs. The products are designed to meet the growing demand for quick, precise and reliable measurements and offer the choice and flexibility to suit your specific applications.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Edinburgh Instruments.

For more information on this source, please visit Edinburgh Instruments.

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