Fluorescence lifetime Hong-Ou-Mandel sensing

Ashley Lyons*, Vytautas Zickus, Raúl Álvarez-Mendoza, Danilo Triggiani, Vincenzo Tamma, Niclas Westerberg, Manlio Tassieri, Daniele Faccio*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy in the time domain is typically performed by recording the arrival time of photons either by using electronic time tagging or a gated detector. As such the temporal resolution is limited by the performance of the electronics to 100’s of picoseconds. Here, we demonstrate a fluorescence lifetime measurement technique based on photon-bunching statistics with a resolution that is only dependent on the duration of the reference photon or laser pulse, which can readily reach the 1–0.1 picosecond timescale. A range of fluorescent dyes having lifetimes spanning from 1.6 to 7 picoseconds have been here measured with only ~1 s measurement duration. We corroborate the effectiveness of the technique by measuring the Newtonian viscosity of glycerol/water mixtures by means of a molecular rotor having over an order of magnitude variability in lifetime, thus introducing a new method for contact-free nanorheology. Accessing fluorescence lifetime information at such high temporal resolution opens a doorway for a wide range of fluorescent markers to be adopted for studying yet unexplored fast biological processes, as well as fundamental interactions such as lifetime shortening in resonant plasmonic devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8005
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Issue number8005
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2023


  • UKRI
  • EP/T002123/1
  • EP/T00097X/1
  • EP/X035905/1

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