The application of a silicon P-I-N photodiode to the dc measurement of low levels of near ir radiation is described. It is shown that the threshold of signal detection is set by the current amplifier voltage noise, the effect of which at the output is determined by the value of source resistance of the photodiode. The photodiode was used as the detector in a compact interference filter photometer designed for rocket-borne studies of the airglow. Flight results have proved the instrument’s capability to provide measurements sufficiently precise to yield an accurate height profile of the (0–0) atmospheric band of O2 night airglow at λ762 nm.

© 1976 Optical Society of America

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  1. R. Fisher, Appl. Opt. 7, 1079 (1968).
  2. P. Wendland, Electronics 50 (May1971).
  3. R. H. Hamstra, P. Wendland, Appl. Opt. 11, 1539 (1972).
  4. P. G. Witherell, M. E. Faulhaber, Appl. Opt. 9, 73 (1970).
  5. W. H. Havens, Appl. Opt. 13, 2209 (1974).

1974 (1)

1972 (1)

1971 (1)

P. Wendland, Electronics 50 (May1971).

1970 (1)

1968 (1)

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Figures (3)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

The detector/operational amplifier circuit employed in the photodiode noise tests. An identical circuit was used for the rocket experiment except for the omission of the current source and 1010-Ω resistor.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Schematic of the optical configuration of the rocket-borne photometer showing the detector located at the focus of the f/0.6 Fresnel II lens. The plane mirror is shown in its locked operating position directing the photometer field of view parallel to the rocket axis.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

The raw signal data of the photometer recorded through an upleg portion of the rocket flight C4019 from Woomera, South Australia. The data consist of signal voltages sampled every 6 ms and are not corrected for variation of the zenith angle of the rocket axis. The decrease of signal between the times of 85 sec and 110 sec occurs as the rocket penetrates the narrow layer of airglow emission between 87 km and 105 km. The error bar indicates a typical uncertainty of measurement for readings averaged over approximately 0.25 sec (0.2 km) as determined by calculation of the standard deviation.

Tables (1)

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Table I Results of Direct Current Noise Tests on a Variety of Silicon P-I-N Photodiodes