Photoconductive Sensors

Authored by: Fritz Schuermeyer , Thad Pickenpaugh

Measurement, Instrumentation, and Sensors Handbook

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439848913
eBook ISBN: 9781439848937
Adobe ISBN:


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Photoconduction has been observed, studied, and applied for more than 100 years. In the year 1873, W. Smith [1] noticed that the resistance of a selenium resistor depended on illumination by light. Since that time, photoconduction has been an important tool used to evaluate material properties, to study semiconductor device characteristics, and to convert optical into electric signals. The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was a leader in the study and development of photoconductivity and of photoconductive devices. Richard H. Bube of RCA Laboratories wrote the classic book Photoconductivity in Solids [2] in 1960. Today, photoconducting devices are used to generate very fast electric pulses using laser pulses with subpicosecond rise and fall times [3]. For optoelectronic communications, photoconducting devices allow operation in the gigabit per second range.

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