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Optics Letters

| RAPID, SHORT PUBLICATIONS ON THE LATEST IN OPTICAL DISCOVERIES

  • Vol. 27, Iss. 16 — Aug. 15, 2002
  • pp: 1418–1420

Computer-based photon-counting lock-in for phase detection at the shot-noise limit

Dieter Braun and Albert Libchaber  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Letters, Vol. 27, Issue 16, pp. 1418-1420 (2002)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.27.001418


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Abstract

We implement a simple computer-based photon-counting lock-in that combines the signal-to-noise benefits of photon counting with lock-in detection. We experimentally specify the flatness and the noise characteristics of a flexible software implementation. The noise of amplitude and phase of the small signal is at the limit of photonic shot noise; from 1000 counted photons we reach an amplitude resolution of 4.5% and a phase resolution of 13°. The photon-counting lock-in reduces illumination noise, detector dark count noise, and can suppress background. In particular, phase detection is useful to image the delay characteristics in microscopic systems by use of fluorescent probes that are designed to report membrane potential, temperature, or concentration in a chemical reaction.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(040.3780) Detectors : Low light level
(170.2520) Medical optics and biotechnology : Fluorescence microscopy

Citation
Dieter Braun and Albert Libchaber, "Computer-based photon-counting lock-in for phase detection at the shot-noise limit," Opt. Lett. 27, 1418-1420 (2002)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ol/abstract.cfm?URI=ol-27-16-1418


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References

  1. J. R. Lakowicz, Principles of Fluorescence Spectroscopy (Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 1999).
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  9. D. Braun (Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18A, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany) and P. Fromherz are preparing a manuscript to be called “Potential imaging with μm and μs resolution reveal seal properties between single cells and planar electrodes.”
  10. D. Braun (Center for Studies in Physics and Biology, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, N.Y.) and A. Libchaber are preparing a manuscript to be called “Lock-in imaging of reaction kinetics.”
  11. Stanford Research Systems Manual, “DSP Lock-in Amplifier SR850,” Chap. 3 (1999), http://www.srsys.com.
  12. Download the LabView source code from http://www.dieterb.de/lockin.

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