We present a new hardware simulator (HS) for characterization, testing and benchmarking of digital correlators used in various optical correlation spectroscopy experiments where the photon statistics is Gaussian and the corresponding time correlation function can have any arbitrary shape. Starting from the HS developed in [Rev. Sci. Instrum. 74, 4273 (2003)], and using the same I/O board (PCI-6534 National Instrument) mounted on a modern PC (Intel Core i7-CPU, 3.07GHz, 12GB RAM), we have realized an instrument capable of delivering continuous streams of TTL pulses over two channels, with a time resolution of Δt = 50ns, up to a maximum count rate of 〈I〉 ∼ 5MHz. Pulse streams, typically detected in dynamic light scattering and diffuse correlation spectroscopy experiments were generated and measured with a commercial hardware correlator obtaining measured correlation functions that match accurately the expected ones.
CitationMolteni, Matteo [et al.]. Hardware simulator for optical correlation spectroscopy with Gaussian statistics and arbitrary correlation functions. "Optics Express", 4 Novembre 2014.
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