We Can Figure This Out.org
Virtual Lab: The Inner Workings of CD/DVD Drives
University of Virginia
© 2003-Present, John C. Bean
Here are its basic components:

A semiconductor laser which is directed through a beam splitter and focusing lens to the CD.

The CD which has a highly reflective "land" area into which black non-reflective "pits" are written to store information.

And finally there is a photodetector that, as we will see, not only reads data but also controls focusing and steering of the laser beam.

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