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Single Photon Counters


  • Low Dark Counts
  • Two Detector Sizes
  • Active Quenching
  • Temperature Stabilized
  • Gating/Trigger Input
  • USB Interface
  • Pulse Output


  • Fluorescence Measurements
  • Spectroscopy with Single Molecules
  • Spectro-Photometrical Measurements
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Photon Correlation Spectroscopy
Item #SPCM-20ASPCM-50A
Active AreaØ20 µmØ50 µm
Dark Count Rate (Typical)15 c/s100 c/s
Max Count Rate (Pulsed Light)28 MHz22 MHz
Detection Efficiency (Max)35% @ 500 nm

Thorlabs' new Single Photon Counting Modules are capable of detecting single photons emitted in the 350 - 900 nm range. Two models are available that provide an active area of either Ø20 µm or Ø50 µm and a typical dark count rate of either 15 or 100 counts per second, respectively. An active quenching circuit has been integrated into the diode, thereby enabling high count rates.

These detectors can be run in free running, trigger, or gated mode. When operated in the trigger or gated mode, a TTL pulse is used to trigger the internal counter. The output pulse can then be used for an optional external counter. Counter readouts and settings (e.g., reset and counting interval) are set using the included software; a USB cable is included. These photon counting modules can be integrated into larger systems with additional DLL and LabVIEW drivers.

With a compact housing that measures only 85 mm x 68 mm x 25 mm (3.3" x 2.7" x 1.0"), these modules are easily integrated into Thorlabs' entire family of lens tubes and cage assemblies. Post mounting in a horizontal or vertical orientation is possible via two 8-32 (M4) mounting holes.

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