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Photoconductivity is an optical and electrical phenomenon in which a material becomes more conductive due to the absorption of electro-magnetic radiation such as visible light, ultraviolet light, infrared light,or gamma radiation. Lead content of the surrounding area can be a factor in the effectiveness of this, however. When light is absorbed by a material like a semiconductor, the number of free electrons and holes changes and raises the electrical conductivity of the semiconductor. To cause excitation the light that strikes the semiconductor must have enough energy to raise electrons across the forbidden bandgap or by exciting the impurities within the bandgap. When a bias voltage and a load resistor are used in series with the semiconductor, a voltage drop across the load resistors can be measured when the change in electrical conductivity varies the current flowing through the circuit. Two classic examples of photoconductive materials are the polymer polyvinylcarbazole, which is used extensively in photocopying (xerography); and lead sulfide, used in infrared detection applications, such as the U.S. Sidewinder and Russian Atoll heat-seeking missiles and selenium, as employed in early television and xerography experiments.

See photoconductor.


solar cell
photoconductive antenna

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Photoconductivity". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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