The Complete Guide to Optoelectronics

Are you building a product that will use optoelectronics technology? You will consider buying different optoelectronics devices. In this guide, I am going to enlighten you on everything that you should know when buying optoelectronics.

What are optoelectronic devices?

Before we define the devices, let’s start by knowing what optoelectronics means. Optoelectronics refers to the area of technology that deals with optically sensitive devices.

These optically sensitive devices are commonly used in solid-state electronics. It establishes a close relationship between optics and electronics.

It also entails the design and manufacturing of hardware products that convert electrical energy to light energy with the help of semiconductors.

So, what is an optoelectronic device?

Let us define optoelectronics devices. An optoelectronic device is a semiconductor-based electronic device that converts an electrical signal to light energy. The device can optically detect signals or receive input. It can optically modulate transfer information by turning electronic signals into light energy.

These optoelectronics devices are widely used in optical fiber communication, networks, telecommunication infrastructure, medical device, and environmental monitoring equipment.

The Principle of Optoelectronics

How does this technology work?

As optoelectronics is a technology that converts electrical energy to light energy, the optoelectronics principle entails a physical phenomenon called the photoelectric effect.

This effect is responsible for converting an electrical signal or information into light energy. It only uses the semiconductor material and its electronic bandgap properties of semiconductors materials to optically detect electronic signals.

In simpler words, optoelectronic devices use intrinsic semiconductors material property called band gap that enables it to emit photons from the illuminated source on top of injecting electrons from the biased circuit into the conduction band.

There are different types of optoelectronic devices, but these devices work on optoelectronic principles. The majority of optoelectronic device types convert optical signals to electronic signals. The optoelectronic device types include optocouplers, optoisolators optoelectronics optoelectronic relays, and optocouplers.

Components of Optoelectronics

Components of Optoelectronics

A typical optoelectronic device comprises the following components:

-Light source

-Optical transmitter

-Optical fiber/fiber optic

-Optical coupler


-Optical receiver

Let’s have a look at each of these components and the role that they play in the overall functioning of optoelectronic devices.

Light source

The optoelectronic device light source is used to create photons for optically detecting, receiving, or transferring information. The optoelectronic devices use different types of light sources such as LEDs, laser diodes, and VCSELs (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers).

Optical Transmitter

The optoelectronic device transmitter converts an electronic signal into optical signals. It then sends the optically modulated information through the optical fiber that carries the information. This component works together with a photodetector diode that receives or detects the optically transmitted data.

Optical fiber/fiber optic

This optoelectronics component transfers optically encoded data between components in a functional optoelectronics system.

Optical Coupler

The optoelectronic device coupler is responsible for receiving an optical signal from one transmitter and converting it into an electrical signal.

An optoelectronic optocoupler optically transfers electronic signals between optoelectronic devices.

It also optically transfers information between optoelectronic devices and electronic circuits. The optocoupler uses the optical phenomenon called photoconductivity, which is the ability of semiconductor materials to conduct electric current when illuminated by light.


This optoelectronics component converts optical energy to electrical energy or vice versa. The transducers enable a functional optoelectronics system to communicate with other electronics. For example, a phototransistor optically detects the optically transmitted information from an optoelectronic transmitter.

Optical receiver

The optoelectronics device receiver converts a received optical signal into an electronic signal. It also transfers optically encoded data to other optoelectronic components in a functional optoelectronics system. The optocoupler works with a photodetector diode that uses the photoconductivity phenomenon to receive optically encoded information and convert it into electrical signals.

Properties of Optoelectronics Technology

The optoelectronic components that we have discussed until now may be classified into two optoelectronic properties:

  1. Emissive Property of Optoelectronics
  2. Detecting and Receiving Optical Signals Property of optoelectronics

These optoelectronic properties are the optoelectronic mechanism or phenomena used by optoelectronics devices to function properly. Let’s discuss these properties in detail and understand how they work and how optoelectronics devices use them.

Emissive Property of optoelectronics: This optically fed property is responsible for producing photons that carry encoded information through an optical fiber line. An optically enabled semiconductor device uses this optically emitted power to optically detects optically transmitted information and optically transfers it to other optoelectronic components.

Detecting and Receiving Optical Signals Property of optoelectronics: This optically enabled property is used by optoelectronic devices to transfer electrical signals that carry encoded information through an optical fiber line. The optocoupler uses this property of optoelectronics which works like photoconductivity, the ability of semiconductor material to conduct electricity under illumination by light.

This property of optoelectronics enables optoelectronic components such as photodetector diode and phototransistor to receive and detect the photons carried through an optical signal.

Applications of OptoElectronics

Applications of OptoElectronics

Let’s take a look at some of these applications:

Optical Fiber Communication System

This is one of the most important applications for this technology where it transfers information through an optical fiber by using laser transmitter, receiver, and photodetector diode. It receives optical data from the computer or any other digital-optical system. The signal is then transmitted to another party through an optical fiber line. One example of this optic system is Google Fibre Optic Network.

Remote Controls for Consumer Electronics

The optoelectronic remote control system uses infrared light to transmit information from the transmitter to a receiver. Using this property of optoelectronics, we can change channels and adjust the volume on our television set by using an optical device such as a TV remote control.

Computer Monitors and Televisions

Most computer monitors and TVs have an integrated optical sensor in them that detects transmitted optical signals from a mouse or keyboard. This is done by reducing the size of optoelectronic devices such as optocouplers and phototransistors.

Optical Mouse and Keyboard Sensors

An optical mouse is an optically enabled device that transfers information from a computer mouse to a computer or another electronic device with the help of optoelectronic components such as an optocoupler and optojack. A keyboard sensor detects transmitted light from a monitor screen through an optical signal and converts it into electrical signals so that we can type information on the keyboard.

Bar Code Readers for Retail Stores

This optically detected property of optoelectronics is used in retail stores, supermarkets to optically detect the bar code printed on products by using lines of laser diodes and photodiodes. The optoelectronic components optically handheld devices such as printers and scanners use this technology to read the information in printed bar codes.

Optical Disk Readers for Computers

Optical disks such as DVDs, CDs, and Blu-ray Discs store a huge amount of data that we need to transfer from one computer to another or any other electronic device. Optical disks are read by an optical disk drive which uses an integrated optically enabled semiconductor chip consisting of laser diodes and photodiodes.

Ocean Navigation Through Satellite Technology

This technology is used to detect the exact location on the earth using optoelectronics components. An example of this is the GPS (Global Positioning System).

Optical Sensors in Automobiles

Automatic Door Openers and Automatic Teller Machines

Auto door openers consist of sensors that use optical signals to detect when there is an object or person in front of the door. It opens only when it detects someone through an integrated circuit consisting of phototransistors, laser diode, and photodiode. ATMs use optical readers which are similar to bar readers to read encoded information on a bank card.

Medical Technology

The optoelectronic components are an essential part of medical devices such as laser pointers, endoscopes, and ultrasound equipment. In the endoscope, a low-power light-emitting diode is used to send optical signals from one end of the instrument to another.

Ultrasonic equipment uses high-frequency waves that come out from a piezoceramic transducer and reflect on a photodetector diode to detect objects inside a human body.

These components can also be used in MRI machines that use optically encoded magnetic fields rather than electric currents. The optoelectronic components are also used to detect the blood flow in certain organs.

Fiber-Optic Communication Systems

The optoelectronic components that measure light optically include lasers, photodiodes, and optocouplers which transmit information optically through an optical fiber line. This is how it works: Laser diodes emit high-intensity optical signals which pass through a lens and then enter into an optoelectronic component. This component changes the light signal into electrical pulses; these electrical pulses are transmitted over an optic fiber line.

Another optoelectronic device receives the optical signals and converts them back to light signals using laser diodes; finally, the signal is converted back to its optically encoded form to be interpreted.

Radar Technology

Radar devices are optoelectronic components that emit high-frequency radio waves called microwaves which reflect off solid objects or fluids. There are three types of beams in radar devices: primary, secondary, and tertiary beam.

These are just among the many other applications of optoelectronics.

Optoelectronic devices examples

Optoelectronic devices examples

Now let’s have a look at some of the most common optoelectronic devices:

-Laser diodes: optically optically optically optically optically optically optically optically optically optically optically optically optically

-Photodiodes: receive incoming light and convert it to electricity.

-Phototransistors: optically optically optically optically optically

-Optocouplers: consist of a light-emitting diode and a phototransistor.

-Touchscreen overlays:

-Photoresistors: are made of semiconductors that change resistance depending on the intensity of light.

-Liquid crystal display

-Light-emitting diodes

-Display monitor and display modules

Among many other devices. As you can see, each optoelectronic device is curated for a specific application area.

Optoelectronic Packaging

Optoelectronic components such as lasers, phototransistors, and photodetectors need to be packaged in materials that are capable of protecting them from environmental conditions.

Some common materials used for packaging are organic compounds, ceramics, glass, and metal.

Package types include molded plastic cases, metal can packages, leaded glass packages, or ceramic hybrid packages depending on the application.

Leaded glass package used in lasers. The lead part provides protection, while the glass material allows the emission of light through it.

Protection in Optoelectronic devices

Even though there are cases when unintentional damage to an optocoupler can occur, they are mostly protected against environmental interference by various types of protective coatings and materials used in their construction process.

Here are examples of common damages that may happen in opto devices that need to be through extended environmental conditions:

Optocouplers, phototransistors, and optodiodes are especially sensitive to humidity; an increase in humidity may cause corrosion on metal contacts. Optoelectronic components such as lasers and receivers can also be damaged by moisture or high temperature.

Another common damage that optoelectronic devices need to be protected from is ESD (electrostatic discharge). This happens when there is a build-up of static electricity within the device which can destroy it completely by forming mini-lightning bolts through its components and circuits.

Tips for Buying Optoelectronic Devices

Here are some tips that you can use when buying optoelectronic devices and accessories.

– Consider the price: optoelectronic devices are usually expensive, but there are many optoelectronic components that you can buy at low prices if you opt for direct-from-manufacturers or wholesale options.

– Consider the optoelectronic device’s quality: optoelectronic devices come in different qualities; opt for optoelectronic devices with high-quality ratings.

– Make sure the optoelectronic device you opt for is suitable for your application: optoelectronic devices are manufactured in different shapes, sizes, and types depending on their applications; opt for optoelectronic devices that suit your application best.

-Manufacturer: opt for optoelectronic devices coming from manufacturers with good reputations.

-Quantity: opt for optoelectronic devices that come in high quantities to lower the price per optoelectronic device, or opt for supplies of individual optoelectronic devices if you need several.

-Product lifetime warranty support: opt for optoelectronic devices that come with a product lifetime warranty support.

Once you put these factors into consideration, you will eventually buy the best optoelectronic devices.

ICRFQ: Reliable Optoelectronics Components Suppliers In China

We are a reputable supplier and distributor of optoelectronics and optoelectronic components.We offer optoelectronic devices and optoelectronic components at affordable prices and quality services to our clients.

Our experience in optoelectronics started in the early 1990s, and through years of research, development, and improvement of optoelectronic technologies. We now provide optoelectronic components with high quality which are best suited for optoelectronic applications.

Contact us today for detailed information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment