The physical and instrumental processes that occur in experiments for the detection of individual fluorescent molecules in solution are described, with emphasis on their incorporation into a quantitative Monte Carlo simulation. The simulation is applied to the conditions of a past experiment [Appl. Opt. <b>34,</b> 3208 (1995)], which utilizes a sheath flow system for high detection efficiency, and it generates comparable results, while helping to identify experimental limitations. The simulation indicates that the use of low dead-time electronics and appropriate selection of experimental parameters should enable detection at more rapid rates for applications in which large numbers of molecules are to be efficiently counted.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
(040.1880) Detectors : Detection
(120.0120) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology
(170.6280) Medical optics and biotechnology : Spectroscopy, fluorescence and luminescence
(300.2530) Spectroscopy : Fluorescence, laser-induced
Dennis H. Bunfield and Lloyd M. Davis, "Monte Carlo Simulation of a Single-Molecule Detection Experiment," Appl. Opt. 37, 2315-2326 (1998)