Leveraging lifetime information to perform real-time 3D single-particle tracking in noisy environments

Tian Zhao, Joseph S. Beckwith, M. Junaid Amin, Marcell Pálmai, Preston T. Snee, Ming Tien, Haw Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A microscopy platform that leverages the arrival time of individual photons to enable 3D single-particle tracking of fast-moving (translational diffusion coefficient of ≃3.3 µm2/s) particles in high-background environments is reported here. It combines a hardware-based time-gating module, which enables the rate of photon processing to be as high as 100 MHz, with a two-photon-excited 3D single-particle tracking confocal microscope to enable high sample penetration depth. Proof-of-principle experiments where single quantum dots are tracked in solutions containing dye-stained cellulose, are shown with tracking performance markedly improved using the hardware-based time-gating module. Such a microscope design is anticipated to be of use to a variety of communities who wish to track single particles in cellular environments, which commonly have high fluorescence and scattering background.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number164201
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 28 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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