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Reading bits on a CD-ROM without a photodiode

Reading bits on a CD-ROM without a photodiode

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The authors demonstrate that the bits of a Compact Disc – Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) can be read without a photodiode (PD). A commercial CD-ROM drive was used and left unmodified except a beam splitter was removed which would route the light to a PD. This allowed for the reflected light to be incident on the laser within the laser package itself. By monitoring fluctuations in the voltage across the laser diode under constant-current injection, it was possible to read and interpret the bits from a spinning CD-ROM.

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