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Simple short range IR/laser beam break position detector

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Trying to get ideas on setting up a short range (500mm max) beam that if interrupted provides a trigger of sorts.
The range needed is short but accuracy or "width" of beam should be a mm or so at most.
I am hoping to not use a reflector at the "receiving" end of the beam. Is this possible?

IOW, a beam generator that would generate a 1mm round beam for 500mm that if broken by an object will provide a trigger.
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