Optical Detectors

A list of various types of Optical Detectors are listed below. Download datasheets and request quotes for any products that catch your interest. Your inquiries will be forwarded to the manufacturers and their regional distributors.

Optical detectors are devices used to convert light into electrical signals. They facilitate the detection and measurement of light intensity, wavelength, or polarization. They operate based on the interaction between light and semiconductor materials, a process that generates electrical currents proportional to the intensity of incident optical light. This process involves the absorption of photons, exciting electrons from the valence to the conduction band and leaving behind holes in the valence band. These detectors are essential components in various applications such as telecommunications, remote sensing, medical imaging, and scientific instrumentation. Optical detectors play a crucial role in extracting information encoded in light waves.

Principle of Operation: 

The fundamental principle of an optical detector is the photogeneration of electron-hole pairs (EHP). When incident photons strike the detector's photosensitive material, they impart sufficient energy to liberate electrons from their bound states in the valence band, promoting them to the higher energy conduction band. This excitation leaves behind positively charged holes in the valence band. Consequently, an electrical current proportional to the incident light intensity is generated as these electron-hole pairs are separated under an applied electric field within the detector.

Types of Optical Detectors:

Photodiodes: These are semiconductor devices widely used for detecting light and converting it into electrical current. They offer fast response times and high sensitivity across various wavelengths.

Photomultipliers: Using a cascade of electron multiplication stages, photomultipliers are capable of detecting extremely weak light signals with high sensitivity. They find applications in low-light conditions and scientific instrumentation.

Photoresistors: Also known as light-dependent resistors (LDRs), these detectors exhibit a change in resistance when exposed to light. Their simplicity and cost-effectiveness make them suitable for various light-sensing applications.

Phototransistors: These are semiconductor devices that amplify the current generated by incident light. Phototransistors offer higher sensitivity compared to photodiodes and find applications in light detection and switching circuits.

Pyroelectric Detectors: Unlike other optical detectors, pyroelectric detectors operate based on changes in temperature induced by incident radiation. They are commonly used in infrared spectroscopy and thermal imaging applications.