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IOP Science

  • Life Sciences

A high-sensitivity rapid acquisition spectrometer for lanthanide(III) luminescence

Authors Patrick R Nawrocki, Villads R M Nielsen and Thomas Just Sørensen


Detecting luminescence beyond 750–800 nm becomes problematic as most conventional detectors are less sensitive in this range, and as simple corrections stops being accurate. Lanthanide luminescence occurs in narrow bands across the spectrum from 350–2000 nm. The most emissive lanthanide(III) ions have bands from 450 nm to 850 nm, some with additional bands in the NIR. Investigating NIR bands are hard, but the difficulties already start at 700 nm. In general, the photon flux from lanthanide(III) emitters is not great, and the bands beyond 700 nm are very weak, we therefore decided to build a spectrometer based on cameras for microscopy with single-photon detection capabilities. This was found to allieviate all limitations and to allow for fast and efficient recording of luminescence spectra in the range from 450 to 950 nm. The spectrometer characteristics were investigated and the performance was benchmarked against two commercial spectrometers. We conclude that this spectrometer is ideal for investigating lanthanide luminescence, and all other emitters with emission in the target range.

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