Sensor Technology | Mouser Electronics

Optical Sensors

A photoelectric sensor, or photoeye, is a device used to detect the distance, absence, or presence of
an object by using a light transmitter (often infrared) and a photoelectric receiver. They are used
extensively in industrial manufacturing. There are three functional types: opposed (a.k.a.
through-beam), retroreflective, and proximity-sensing.

A self-contained photoelectric sensor contains optics and electronics and requires only a power source.
The sensor performs its own modulation, demodulation, amplification, and output switching. Some
self-contained sensors provide such options as built-in control timers or counters. Because of
technological progress, self-contained photoelectric sensors have become increasingly smaller.

Remote photoelectric sensors, used for sensing over long distances or in hard-to-reach places, contain
only the optical components of a sensor. The circuitry for power input, amplification, and output
switching are located elsewhere, typically in a control panel. This allows the sensor to be very small
and the controls to be accessible, since they may be bigger.

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