We have constructed a circuit that permits conventional timing electronics to be used in single photon-counting fluorimeters with high repetition rate excitation sources (synchrotrons and mode-locked lasers). Most commercial time-to-amplitude and time-to-digital converters introduce errors when processing very short time intervals and when subjected to high-frequency signals. This circuit reduces the frequency of signals representing the pulsed light source (stops) to the rate of detected fluorescence events (starts). Precise timing between the start/stop pair is accomplished by using the second stop pulse after a start pulse. Important features of our design are that the circuit is insensitive to the simultaneous occurrence of start and stop signals and that the reduction in the stop frequency allows the start/stop time interval to be placed in linear regions of the response functions of commercial timing electronics.
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