Software version 3.0 for NanoHarp 250

PicoQuant has released new software for its NanoHarp 250 data acquisition board for multichannel scaling/photon counting. The NanoHarp 250 is a short PCI slot card with integrated input discriminators. The card is suitable for the acquisition of fluorescence/luminescence decays on the nanosecond to millisecond time scale. Other applications include optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR), time-of-flight mass spectrometry and range finding.

By means of reconfiguration of the boards programmable logic, the software provides two different measurement modes. For high resolution measurements the 'fast mode' provides a time bin resolution of four nanoseconds. In 'slow mode' the time bin width is 32 nanoseconds. This extends the usable time span of the decay or OTDR measurement to over two seconds. In both modes, up to 262,144 time bins are available. The board's multi-stop capability allows efficient recording of long-lived fluorescence decays with correspondingly slow excitation rates. On-board histogram memory is 18-bits deep, allowing the collection of 262,144 counts per bin without software intervention.

Software adjustable discriminators and on-board polarity switches allow the NanoHarp 250 to be interfaced to a wide range of signal and trigger sources, including all common single photon detectors such as photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and single photon avalanche photodiodes (SPADs). Count rates up to 50MHz can be processed. Histogram data is transferred efficiently by means of bus-mastering DMA. Excitation sources such as the PDL 800-B diode laser family can be triggered automatically only when a measurement is running, which avoids bleaching fluorophores.

Version 3.0 of PicoQuant's software now supports all recent Windows platforms from Windows 2000 to Windows 7 - including the 64-bit versions, and an improved graphical user interface with comprehensive online help guarantees a short learning curve. The new software also supports control for an extended range of monochromators, permitting the automated recording of time-resolved emission spectra (TRES). Fluorescence decay analysis is facilitated by direct transfer to the popular FluoFit software. A new programming library, including a rich set of example programs is separately available to support the development of custom software. It allows integration with existing automated instruments, such as LabVIEW, Matlab, C/C++, Delphi, etc.