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The solar cell has been used extensively only as a source of electric power in space vehicles, and as an indicator of static light intensity in the familiar photographer's exposure meter. Its development was prompted by a need for a reliable, long-life source of power in these applications. A novel extension of its properties is feasible in sensing and measuring mechanical movements. The solar cell becomes a novel transducer, permitting the measurement of displacements in confined spaces which are either too small or too rapid for visual observation. It can be used wherever it can be mounted with a suitable light source. Since displacement is a measure of a distance traversed in a time interval, calibration of the measuring system using the solar cell transducer allows measurements of time, velocity, and acceleration. From these results, an analysis of the dynamic behavior of the mechanical system can be obtained. This paper discusses the general objectives of a sensor transducer, to show that the solar cell is a feasible addition to the many types presently available. Typical characteristic properties of the solar cell are discussed to illustrate its behavior as. a transducer.
Parts, Materials and Packaging, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:1 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: Sep 1965