Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) is an important spectroscopic technique which can be used for measuring the diffusion and thus size of fluorescing molecules at pico- to nanomolar concentrations. Recently, we introduced an extension of conventional FCS, which is called dual-focus FCS (2fFCS) and allows absolute diffusion measurements with high precision and repeatability. It was shown experimentally that the method is robust against most optical and sample artefacts which are troubling conventional FCS measurements, and is furthermore able to yield absolute values of diffusion coefficients without referencing against known standards. However, a thorough theoretical treatment of the performance of 2fFCS is still missing. The present paper aims at filling this gap. Here, we have systematically studied the performance of 2fFCS with respect to the most important optical and photophysical factors such as cover slide thick-ness, refractive index of the sample, laser beam geometry, and optical satu-ration. We show that 2fFCS has indeed a superior performance when com-pared with conventional FCS, being mostly insensitive to most potential ab-errations when working under optimized conditions.
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