Spectrally-selective Time-resolved Emission through Fourier-filtering (STEF)

13 October 2022, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


In this manuscript we demonstrate that directing the emitted photon stream from a fluorescent sample through a fixed path-length imbalanced Mach-Zehnder interferometer allows us to separate and resolve the dynamics of different emitters without the use of filtering optics. Our method, Spectrallyselective Time-resolved Emission through Fourier-filtering (STEF) takes advantage of a careful selection of interferometer position where one signal can be canceled (or enhanced) due to its unique spectral characteristics. STEF is straightforward to implement and provides a complementary approach to separate spectrally overlapped signals based on their coherence length and carrier frequency. We also discuss how one can implement STEF with an imperfect Mach-Zehnder interferometer, increasing the utility of this method, and demonstrate how Mach-Zehnder filtering can be used to image fluorophores in biologically relevant samples.


Balanced Detection
Confocal Scanning
Spectral Separation

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information: Spectrally-selective Time-resolved Emission through Fourier-filtering (STEF)
Detailed information on overall specification of optical setup, theoretical considerations, data processing, and any supporting data collected


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