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Fast, flexible algorithm for calculating photon correlations

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Abstract

We introduce a new algorithm for computing correlations of photon arrival time data acquired in single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). The algorithm is based on rewriting the correlation as a counting operation on photon pairs and can be used with arbitrary bin widths and spacing. The flexibility of the algorithm is demonstrated by use of FCS simulations and single-molecule photon antibunching experiments. Execution speed is comparable to the commonly used multiple-tau correlation technique. Wide bin spacings are possible that allow for real-time software calculation of correlations, even for high count rates.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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