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Photodiode Array Detectors (PDA)


A photodiode array (PDA) is a linear array of discrete photodiodes on an integrated circuit (IC) chip. For spectroscopy it is placed at the image plane of a spectrometer to allow a range of wavelengths to be detected simultaneously. In this regard it can be thought of as an electronic version of photographic film. Array detectors are especially useful for recording the full uv-vis absorption spectra of samples that are rapidly passing through a sample flow cell, such as in an HPLC detector.

PDAs work on the same principle as simple photovoltaic detectors.

Schematic of a PDA

Light creates electron-hole pairs and the electrons migrate to the nearest PIN junction. After a fixed integration time the charge at each element is sequentially read with solid-state circuitry to generate the detector response as a function of linear distance along the array. PDAs are available with 512, 1024, or 2048 elements with typical dimensions of ~ 25 Ám wide and 1-2 mm high.

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