Abstract

We present a digital architecture for fast acquisition of time correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) events from a 32×32 complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) single photon avalanche detector (SPAD) array (Megaframe) to the computer memory. Custom firmware was written to transmit event codes from 1024-TCSPC-enabled pixels for fast transfer of TCSPC events. Our 1024-channel TCSPC system is capable of acquiring up to 0.5×109 TCSPC events per second with 16 histogram bins spanning a 14 ns width. Other options include 320×106 TCSPC events per second with 256 histogram bins spanning either a 14 or 56 ns time window. We present a wide-field fluorescence microscopy setup demonstrating fast fluorescence lifetime data acquisition. To the best of our knowledge, this is the fastest direct TCSPC transfer from a single photon counting device to the computer to date.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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