A novel optical position sensor is described that uses two component photodiodes electrically connected in parallel, with opposing polarities. A lens provides optical gain and restricts the acceptance angle of the detector. The response of the device to displacements of an optical spot is similar to that of a conventional bi-cell type position sensitive detector. However, the component photodiode design enables simpler electronic amplification with inherently less electrical noise than the bi-cell. Measurements by the sensor of the pointing noise of a focused helium-neon laser as a function of frequency demonstrate high sensitivity and suitability for optical probe beam deflection experiments.
This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. The U.S. Government may have certain rights in this invention. This invention is disclosed in provisional application Ser. No. 60/021,680 and this application claims benefit of the provisional filing date, Jun. 12, 1996.