Standard Article


  1. Manfred Lutz

Published Online: 15 DEC 2006

DOI: 10.1002/14356007.a19_599.pub2

Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry

Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry

How to Cite

Lutz, M. 2006. Photoelectricity. Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. AEG Elektrofotografie GmbH, Warstein, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2006


The article contains sections titled:

2.External Photoeffect
3.Internal Photoeffect
4.1.Light Sensors and Detectors
4.2.Solar Cells
4.3.Imaging Systems

Photoelectricity is one of the key phenomena of today's imaging and communication technologies. In general, photoelectricity is understood as the interaction of photons with solids, resulting either in a liberation of electrons (external photoeffect) or in an enhanced electrical conductivity (internal photoeffect). Both effects are discussed particularly with regard to the basic principles and materials involved.

Photoelectricity with its link between light flux and electrical current was the basis for a huge technical and scientific effort directed to enhance, extend, and diversify devices in their functions as light sensors and detectors and later as image pick-up systems which enable transmission, processing, display, and printout of the received optical information; e.g., solar cells and sensor arrays for digital still and video cameras.