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Light Dependant Resistor £0.56

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Light Dependant Resistor LDR

Resistance falls as the incident light increases. 8k-24k at 10 lux. 1M dark resistance. 5mm diameter.

What is an LDR?

An LDR is a component that has a (variable) resistance that changes with the light intensity that falls upon it. This allows them to be used in light sensing circuits.

An LDR or photoresistor is made from a semiconductor material with a high resistance. It has a high resistance because there are very few electrons that are free and able to move - the vast majority of the electrons are locked into the crystal lattice and unable to move. Therefore in this state there is a high LDR resistance.

As light falls on the semiconductor, the light photons are absorbed by the semiconductor lattice and some of their energy is transferred to the electrons. This gives some of them sufficient energy to break free from the crystal lattice so that they can then conduct electricity. This results in a lowering of the resistance of the semiconductor and hence the overall LDR resistance.


Tech Tin Files: The Photoresistor

  • A photoresistor or light-dependent resistor (LDR) or photocell is a light-controlled variable resistor. The resistance of a photoresistor decreases with increasing incident light intensity; in other words, it exhibits photoconductivity. A photoresistor can be applied in light-sensitive detector circuits, and light- and dark-activated switching circuits.
  • A photoresistor is made of a high resistance semiconductor. In the dark, a photoresistor can have a resistance as high as several megohms, while in the light, a photoresistor can have a resistance as low as a few hundred ohms. If incident light on a photoresistor exceeds a certain frequency, photons absorbed by the semiconductor give bound electrons enough energy to jump into the conduction band. The resulting free electrons (and their hole partners) conduct electricity, thereby lowering resistance. The resistance range and sensitivity of a photoresistor can substantially differ among dissimilar devices. Moreover, unique photoresistors may react substantially differently to photons within certain wavelength bands.
  • A photoelectric device can be either intrinsic or extrinsic. An intrinsic semiconductor has its own charge carriers and is not an efficient semiconductor, for example, silicon. In intrinsic devices the only available electrons are in the valence band, and hence the photon must have enough energy to excite the electron across the entire bandgap. Extrinsic devices have impurities, also called dopants, added whose ground state energy is closer to the conduction band; since the electrons do not have as far to jump, lower energy photons (that is, longer wavelengths and lower frequencies) are sufficient to trigger the device. If a sample of silicon has some of its atoms replaced by phosphorus atoms (impurities), there will be extra electrons available for conduction. This is an example of an extrinsic semiconductor.