Applications of Photoelectric Effect

The photoelectric effect occurs when electrically charged particles are emitted from or within a material when it absorbs electromagnetic radiation. The photoelectric effect was critical in the advancement of modern physics because of the bewildering questions it raised regarding the idea of light (whether a particle or a wave?) that Albert Einstein at long last settled in 1905. In the following section, let us discuss some of the vital applications of the photoelectric effect.

Uses of Photoelectric Effect

There are many practical applications of the photoelectric effect. Here, we have discussed a few of the prominent applications.

Image Sensors

An image sensor is a sensor that identifies and passes on data used to make a picture. At the beginning of TV, video camera tubes utilized the photoelectric effect to change an optical picture into an electronic signal.


Photomultipliers are incredibly light-sensitive vacuum tubes with a coated photocathode inside the envelope. The photocathode comprises a combination of caesium, rubidium, and antimony that are uniquely chosen to give a low work function. When illuminated even by deficient levels of light, the photocathode promptly delivers electrons. Utilising a series of electrodes at higher potentials, these electrons are sped up and increased in number through secondary emission to provide a readily detectable output current. Photomultipliers are still regularly utilised in any place where low degrees of light should be identified.

Night Vision Devices

Night vision goggles work on the principle of the photoelectric effect, which Albert Einstein discovered. In the night vision goggles, the photoelectric effect amplifies the presence of individual photons.


The photoelectric effect causes the spacecraft exposed to sunlight to foster a positive charge. This can be a critical issue, as other space apparatus parts are in shadow, bringing about the space apparatus producing a negative charge from neighbouring plasmas. The irregularity can be released through sensitive electrical parts.

The static charge created by the photoelectric effect is self-limiting because a higher charged object doesn’t give up its electrons as quickly as a lower charged object does.

Moon Dust

Sunlight hitting lunar residue makes it positively charged as a result of the photoelectric effect. The charged residue or lunar dust then, at that point, repulses itself and takes off the outer layer of the Moon by electrostatic levitation. This manifests itself as an “atmosphere of dust,” visible as a thin haze and blurring of distant features and visible as a dim glow after the sun has set. These were some of the applications of the photoelectric effect. But perhaps the most critical application of the photoelectric effect was propelling the quantum revolution. It led physicists to think about the nature of light and the structure of atoms in an entirely new way!

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