We discuss the use of total internal reflection for the production of sensors
with high angular resolution. These sensors are intended for measurement of the
angle between a sensor’s axis and the direction to a source of radiation or
reflecting object. Sensors of this type are used in controlling the position of
machine parts in robotics and industry, orienting space vehicles and astronomic
devices in relation to the Sun, and as autocollimators for checking angles of
deviation. This kind of sensor was used in the Apollo space vehicle some 20
years ago. Using photodetectors with linear and area CCD arrays has opened up
new application possibilities for appropriately designed sensors. A generalized
methodology is presented applicable to a wide range of tasks. Some modifications
that can improve the performance of the basic design are described.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
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