I'm trying to build a laser distance sensor using triangulation (With this as my main inspiration, Webcam Based DIY Laser Rangefinder).
My plan is to use a linear CCD array as the imager, such as the Toshiba TCD132D, for detecting the absolute distance to an object. I'll basically try to make a higher resolution version of the Parallax TSL1401-DB.
Due to my limited knowledge of optics and lenses, i have a hard time figuring out what the optical setup should be. Note that the distance sensor should be able to measure distances from 20 cm to 5 m, with a precision of +/- 0.5 cm.
I assume that the object would cause the laser beam to have a diffuse reflection, and that some kind of convex lens should be used to focus the diffuse reflections on a few pixels in the linear array.
I would prefer an off the shelf board mounted lens, but since the linear array sensor is 1.4 cm wide, none of the lenses i have found would be a good fit. Does any of you have any suggesting regarding which optics to use, and preferably any literature or tutorials that would make me understand this topic a bit clearer?