SPC-130IN Series

SPC-130IN, SPC-130INX, SPC-130INXX TCSPC Modules

  • High-Throughput PCIe Interface
  • SPC-180N Technology
  • Unprecedented Timing Stability and Time Resolution
  • Time Channel Width Down to 203 fs
  • Internal Timing Jitter (RMS) / IRF Width (FWHM) Down to 1.1 ps / 2.8 ps
  • 12 MHz Saturated Count Rate
  • -NX and -NXX Versions Ideal for Ultra-Fast HPM (Hybrid) Detectors and Superconducting NbN Detectors
  • Precision Fluorescence Decay Recording
  • Simultaneous Fluorescence / Phosphorescence Decay Measurement
  • Multi-Wavelength Fluorescence Decay Measurement
  • Photon Correlation, Single-Molecule Spectroscopy
  • Free Instrument Software for Windows 10 / 11
  • Realtime Calculation and Fitting of FCS Curves
  • Link to SPCImage NG Data Analysis
  • Parallel Operation of Up to 4 Modules
  • Available as Multi-Module Package e.g. SPC-132IN, SPC-133IN and SPC-134IN


The SPC-130IN is a high-end performance single photon counting (TCSPC) module with high time resolution down to the ps range at affordable costs. The timing module is the ideal choice for fluorescence lifetime applications and time correlation recording, with highest accuracy providing precise time information.

General Information

The module is available in three versions with different time range and time resolution:

Minimum Time Channel Width
SPC-130IN:       813 fs
SPC-130INX:    405 fs
SPC-130INXX: 203 fs

Internal Timing Jitter (RMS) / IRF Width (FWHM)
SPC-130IN:       2.5 ps / 6.6 ps
SPC-130INX:    1.6 ps / 3.5 ps
SPC-130INXX: 1.1 ps / 2.8 ps

The -NX version, and, especially, the -NXX version have been designed for ultra-fast detectors, SSPDs and ultra-fast hybrid detectors. The hardware interface achieves extremely high data transfer rates especially in the parameter-tag modes.

The SPC-130IN modules have all standard photon distribution modes, the continuous-flow mode, and the FIFO (time-tag) mode implemented. However, this timing module has no imaging mode. The SPC-130IN can thus be used for traditional fluorescence lifetime experiments, diffuse optical tomography, stopped flow experiments, single molecule detection and combined FCS/lifetime experiments. The SPC-130IN has especially overvoltage-hardened signal inputs. They are reliable and rugged, and can be used even under harsh conditions. When ordered in large quantities for OEM applications, the bh SPC-130IN modules offer unprecedented price-performance ratio. The module is upgradable to SPC-180N for fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) and other laser scanning applications.

All SPC-130IN family modules have high-speed PCI-Express (PCIe) interfaces and can be easily installed in nearly all PCs or configured as stand-alone timing unit.

Measurement Software Included

The SPCM operating and measurement software is included with all SPC series modules. SPCM provides online calculation and display (2D, 3D) of data (decay curves, FCCS) acquired in multiple operation modes. SPCM software undergoes active continuous development. SPCM receives frequent updates with new features and bug fixes. Read more…

FLIM and FCS Data Analysis

For advanced fluorescence lifetime single-curve data analysis, please use SPCImage.
For advanced visualisation and analysis of dynamic effects, please use SPCDynamics.
For advanced fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and cross-correlation (FCCS) data analysis, please use Burst Analyzer.

Custom Programming Libraries (DLL, LabVIEW)

For automation and custom software integration, DLLs and LabVIEW drivers are available. Read more…





Photon Channel



Constant Fraction Discriminator (CFD)

Discriminator Input Bandwidth

4 GHz

Time Resolution (FWHM/RMS, electr.)

< 6.6 ps / 2.5 ps

< 3.5 ps / 1.6 ps

< 3 ps / 1.1 ps

Variance in Time of IRF max.

< 0.4 ps RMS over 100 s

Optimum Input Voltage Range

-30 mV to -500 mV

Min. Input Pulse Width

200 ps


0 to -500 mV

Zero Cross Adjust

-100 mV to 100 mV

Syncronisation Channel



Constant Fraction Discriminator (CFD)

Discriminator Input Bandwidth

4 GHz

Optimum Input Voltage Range

-30 mV to -500 mV

Min. Input Pulse Width

200 ps


0 to -500 mV

Frequency Range

0 to 150 MHz

Frequency Divider

1, 2, 4

Zero Cross Adjust

-100 mV to 100 mV

Time-to-Amplitude Converters / ADCs



Ramp Generator / Biased Amplifier

TAC Range

50 ns to 5 µs

25 ns to 2.5 µs

12.5 ns to 125 ns

Biased Amplifier Gain

1 to 15

Biased AmplifierOffset

0 % to 50 % of TAC Range

Time Range incl. Biased Amplifier

3.3 ns to 5 µs

1.67 ns to 2.5 µs

0.834 ns to 125 ns

Min. Time Channel Width

813 fs

405 fs

203 fs

ADC Principle

50 ns Flash ADC with Error Correction

Diff. Nonlinerarity

< 0.5 % RMS, typ. < 1 % peak-peak

Data Acquisition

Histogram Mode


on-board multi-dim. histogramming process

Dead Time

80 ns, independent of computer speed

Saturated Count Rate

12 MHz

Useful Count Rate

6 MHz

Max. Counts / Time Channel (Counting Depth)


Overflow Control

none, stop, repeat and correct

Collection Time

0.1 µs to 100,000 s

Diplay Interval Time

10 ms to 100,000 s

Repeat Time

0.1 µs to 100,000 s

Sequential Recording

Unlimited Recording by Memory Swapping


7 bit, TTL

Count Enable

1 bit, TTL

Input Experiment Trigger


Data Acquisition

FIFO / Parameter-Tag Mode


Parameter-tagging of individual photons and continuous writing to disk

Online Display

Decay functions, FCS, Cross-FCS, PCH MCS Traces

FCS Calculation

Multi-tau algorithm, online calculation and online fit

Number of Counts of Decay / Waveform Recording


Dead Time

80 ns

Saturated Count Rate, Peak

12 MHz

Sustained Count Rate (Bus Transfer Limit)

5 MHz

Max. Counts / Time Channel (Counting Depth)


Output Data Format (ADC / Macrotime / Routing)

12 / 12 / 4

On-board FIFO Buffer Capacity (Photons)

2 * 106

Macro Timer Resolution, Internal Clock

25 ns, 12 bit, overflows marked by MOTF entry in data stream

Macro Timer Resolution, Clock from Sync Input

10 ns to 100 ns, 12 bit, overflow marked by MOTF entry in data stream


4 bit, TTL

External Event Markers

4 bit, TTL

Experiment Trigger


Operation Environment


PC System

Windows 10, > 8 GB RAM, 64 bit operating system recommended

PC Interface


Used PCIe Slots


Power Consumption

approx. 12 W from +12 V


230 mm x 130 mm x 18 mm



The bh TCSPC Handbook
10th edition, September 2023



The bh SPC modules use a multi-dimensional TCSPC principle. The principle is an extension of the classic TCSPC process: A detector detects single photons of a periodic light signal. The TCSPC electronics measures the times of the photons within the signal (excitation) period, and builds up the distribution of the photons over the time of the signal period. The time resolution of the TCSPC process is much higher than the resolution of an analog recording with the same detector: The time of a photon pulse can be determined with a much higher precision than its width.

In extension of the classic process, the bh technique determines additional parameters of the photons, such as wavelength, point of origin within an image area, excitation wavelength, time from an external stimulation of the sample, time within an additional modulation period of the excitation light. The photon distribution is built up over the photon times in the signal period and one or several of these additional parameters. The results of this process are multi-wavelength fluorescence-decay data, fluorescence-lifetime images, multi-wavelength lifetime images, multi-excitation decay data or multi-excitation FLIM data, decay data or FLIM data of fast dynamic changes within a sample, or combined fluorescence / phosphorescence decay data or FLIM / PLIM data. Please see also 'The bh TCSPC Technique'.

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