Students analyse the fundamental characteristics of optical detectors. Thermal and photoemissive devices as well as photodiodes and infrared sensors are studied. CCD and CMOS cameras are analysed in detail. Single photon detection is explained.


  • Introduction: Electromagnetic radiation, radiometric quantities, interaction of light with matter, classification of detectors, noise sources, detector figures of merit.
  • Opticla methods: few examples: Synchrone detection and interferometers, position sensors, 3D imaging, Fourier optics and microscopy.
  • Thermal detectors: Basic relationships, bolometers, thermocouples, pyroelectric detectors, applications.
  • Photoemissive detectors: External photoeffect, vacuum photodiodes, photomultipliers, microchannels, applications
  • Photovoltaic detectors: Photodiodes (p-n diodes, p-i-n diodes, schottky diodes), avalanche photodiodes, noise sources, ultimate limits of photovoltaic photodectection.
  • Ultra-fast photodiodes: interface electronics, bandwidth, travelling wave photodiodes, Bit-Error-Rate, eye diagram, telecom applications.
  • CCD cameras: Charge Coupled Devices (CCD): CCD principles and building blocks, CCD charge transport and image sensor architectures
  • CMOS cameras: Photocharge detection, photodiodes in CMOS, traditional MOS photodiodes array sensor architectures, noise in photo detection systems, the APS (Active Pixel Sensor).
  • Infrared detectors: Photoconductors, MCT cameras, QWIP.
  • Single photon detection: PMT and photon counting, intensified CCD, electron bombarded CCD, electron multiplying CCD, SPAD and avalanche effect.


Photodetectors, photodiodes, CCD cameras, CMOS cameras, single photon