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Published by prabhumandi123, 2019-04-06 14:35:06


Dr. Prabhu I Mandi

Dept. of Electronics
Basaveshwar Science


Light Dependent Resistor (LDR):

A Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) or a photo resistor is a device whose

resistivity is a function of the incident electromagnetic radiation.
Hence, they are light sensitive devices.
They are also called as photo conductors, photo conductive cells or simply
They are made up of semiconductor materials having high resistance. There
are many different symbols used to indicate a LDR, one of the most

commonly used symbol is shown in the figure below. The arrow indicates
light falling on it.
Photo conductivity is an optical phenomenon in which the materials

conductivity is increased when light is absorbed by the material. When light
falls i.e. when the photons fall on the device, the electrons in the valence

band of the semiconductor material are excited to the conduction band. These
photons in the incident light should have energy greater than the band gap of

the semiconductor material to make the electrons jump from the valence band
to the conduction band. Hence when light having enough energy strikes on

the device, more and more electrons are excited to the conduction band which
results in large number of charge carriers. The result of this process is more

Dr.P I Mandi, Dept. of Electronics, II Semester Electronics 2018-19

and more current starts flowing throgh the device when the circuit is closed

and hence it is said that the resistance of the device has been decreased. This
is the most common working principle of LDR

The structure of a light dependent resistor consists of a light sensitive
material which is deposited on an insulating substrate such as ceramic.

The material is deposited in zigzag pattern in order to obtain the

desired resistance and power rating. This zigzag area separates the
metal deposited areas into two regions. Then the ohmic contacts are

made on the either sides of the area. The resistances of these contacts

should be as less as possible to make sure that the resistance mainly

changes due to the effect of light only. Materials normally used are
cadmium sulphide, cadmium selenide, indium antimonide and

cadmium sulphonide. The use of lead and cadmium is avoided as they

are harmful to the environment.

Characteristics of LDR

LDR’s are light dependent devices whose resistance is decreased when
light falls on them and that is increased in the dark. When a light

dependent resistor is kept in dark, its resistance is very high. This

resistance is called as dark resistance. It can be as high as 10 Ω and if
the device is allowed to absorb light its resistance will be decreased

drastically. If a constant voltage is applied to it and intensity of light is

increased the current starts increasing. Figure below shows resistance

vs. illumination curve for a particular

Dr.P I Mandi, Dept. of Electronics, II Semester Electronics 2018-19

LDR. Photocells or LDR’s are non linear devices. There sensitivity

varies with the wavelength of light incident on them. Some photocells

might not at all response to a certain range of wavelengths. Based on
the material used different cells have different spectral response


A Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) is also called a photoresistor or a

cadmium sulfide (CdS) cell. It is also called a photoconductor.

It is basically a photocell that works on the principle of

photoconductivity.The passive component is basically a resistor whose

resistance value decreases when the intensity of light decreases.
This optoelectronic device is mostly used in light varying sensor circuit,

and light and dark activated switching circuits. Some of its applications
include camera light meters, street lights, clock radios, light beam alarms,

reflective smoke alarms, and outdoor clocks.


1. Automatic Street Light Circuit
2. Simple Fire Alarm Circuit
3. Light Activated Switch Circuit
4. Automatic LED Emergency Light
5. Night Security Light

Dr.P I Mandi, Dept. of Electronics, II Semester Electronics 2018-19

Solar cell:

Construction of Solar Cell

The junction diode is made of SI OR GaAs. A thin layer of p-type is
grown on the n-type semiconductor. Top of the p-layer is provided with

a few finer electrodes which leaves open space for the light to reach the

thin p-layer and it under lays p-n junction. Bottom of the n-layer is
provided with a current collecting electrode.

Working Principle of Solar Cell

When light reaches the p-n junction, electron is excited to the valance
band under the condition that light energy is higher than the band gap

energy, it generates the electron and holes which are equal in number in

the valance and conduction band respectively. These electron hole pairs

move in opposite directions to the barrier field. Electrons move
towards the n-side and the hole is moved towards the p-side. So a

voltage is set up which is known as photo voltage and when a load is

connected, the current flows.

Dr.P I Mandi, Dept. of Electronics, II Semester Electronics 2018-19

Advantages of using Solar Cell
Following are the advantage of using solar cells:

 It doesn’t produce noise

 It doesn’t require fuel to power it up
 Its driving power is free in nature

 It require little maintenance
Disadvantages Of Using Solar Cells

Disadvantage of using solar cells are

Disadvantages of Solar Cell
1. It has high cost of installation.

2. It has low efficiency.
3. During cloudy day, the energy cannot be produced and also at night

we will not get solar energy.

 The surface of the cell has to be large in order to produce reasonable
amount of electrical energy.

 When the sun goes into hiding in the clouds amount of energy generated
will be cut down.

 They cannot be employed as energy source because of fluctuations in the
amount of energy generated.
Applications & Uses Of Solar Cells

Solar cells have numerous applications despite its disadvantages which
are as follows:

 Group of series – parallel connected solar cells can be used as a battery
 They are extensively used as source of power for satellites

 Multiple-unit silicon photovoltaic devices can be used for sensing light in
applications like reading punched cards in data processing industry

 Gold – doped germanium cells with controlled spectral response

Dr.P I Mandi, Dept. of Electronics, II Semester Electronics 2018-19

characteristic can be used as infrared detectors.

V-I Characteristics of a Photovoltaic Cell

Materials Used in Solar Cell
The materials which are used for this purpose must have band gap

close to 1.5ev. Commonly used materials are-

1. Silicon.
2. GaAs.

3. CdTe.

Dr.P I Mandi, Dept. of Electronics, II Semester Electronics 2018-19

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