Significant multiplexing capacity of optical time-domain coding has been recently demonstrated by tuning luminescence lifetimes of the upconversion nanoparticles called 'τ-Dots'. It provides a large dynamic range of lifetimes from microseconds to milliseconds, which allows creating large libraries of nanotags/microcarriers. However, a robust approach is required to rapidly and accurately measure the luminescence lifetimes from the relatively slow-decaying signals. Here we show a fast algorithm suitable for the microsecond region with precision closely approaching the theoretical limit and compatible with the rapid scanning cytometry technique.We exploit this approach to further extend optical time-domain multiplexing to the downconversion luminescence, using luminescence microspheres wherein lifetimes are tuned through luminescence resonance energy transfer.We demonstrate real-time discrimination of these microspheres in the rapid scanning cytometry, and apply them to the multiplexed probing of pathogen DNA strands. Our results indicate that tunable luminescence lifetimes have considerable potential in high-throughput analytical sciences.