Photodiode technology powers everything from solar power cells to the optical eyes installed on the edges of television remotes. They don't experience interference from noise and have an extremely long lifespan. Whether you build your own circuits or rebuild existing ones, you can find it helpful to have a photodiode or two in your parts box.

What materials are used to make photodiodes?

Engineers use materials that are at least somewhat translucent to manufacture photodiodes. Good optical properties are always paramount when determining the type of material to use in photodiode manufacturing. You can find the following types of optical semiconductors on the market:

  • Mercury cadmium telluride
  • Indium gallium arsenide
  • Lead(II) sulfide
  • Germanium
  • Silicon
How many optical semiconductors are needed to build photodiode arrays?

You need two or more optical semiconductors attached to the same device to operate an array. This kind of application allows you to use a set of photodiode mounts as a sensor to check how high an angle is. While you only need two current detector mounts to build an array, you can run thousands of them in parallel if you want to develop a high-speed readout system. Multiple wavelengths of light can set off different diode mounts in the array, which is useful for situations where you need detectors tuned to different infrared shades.

What are some simple applications for optoelectronics?

If you're just learning about the utility of infrared wavelengths of light, then you might want to rush out and build your first circuit. There are many places where light diode technology is in use on a daily basis. You might want to find any of the following circuits and make your own revisions:

  • Solar light sensors
  • Wireless on/off switches
  • Laser detector systems
  • Security cameras
  • Light amplification detectors
What is an IR Port circuit?

IR Ports allow you to transfer information between two devices that sense beams of infrared laser light coming from attached diodes. This type of high-speed information exchange is extremely secure. You also won't have to worry about an IR port photodiode suffering from interference, and you can even transfer application files with this kind of link. These kinds of devices generate a small amount of current when light hits them, so they'll only offer high-speed data transfer rates to two diodes that can physically see each other. This makes it hard for anyone to use a photodiode of their own to snoop on these wavelengths of light, which make IR Port high-speed data transfer equipment ideal for sensitive applications.

How can you make sure my diode generates current?

If you have a multimeter handy, then you can use it to make sure your diode is putting out high enough levels of current. Set the meter to the current setting and then apply both test leads to the leads coming out of your PIN photodiode. If you're not getting a reading, then make sure that the amount of light hitting the eye is high enough to generate current.