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[foh-toh-sel] /ˈfoʊ toʊˌsɛl/
noun, Electronics.
a solid-state device that converts light into electrical energy by producing a voltage, as in a photovoltaic cell, or uses light to regulate the flow of current, as in a photoconductive cell: used in automatic control systems for doors, lighting, etc.
Origin of photocell
1890-95; photo- + cell1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for photocell
  • They turn on when a photocell attached to them reacts to the darkness, and off when the sun comes up.
  • The photocell sits at the bottom of the vertical portion of the chamber.
  • Behind the film was a disc scanner and behind that was a photocell.
  • If the dark character image matched a transparent character image, the amount of light reached the photocell was small.
  • The measuring photocell resistance is established by the amount of light reflected from the sensing tape's surface.
  • Light from the bulb reflects off the smoke particles and is directed towards the photocell.
  • Worker went into a stacker to clean dust off a photocell eye.
  • The photocell shall be shielded to eliminate stray light.
  • Occupancy and photocell sensors will control indirect dimmable fluorescent fixtures and reduce electrical lighting consumption.
  • Install motion sensor or photocell lights on the exterior of your garage if you park in your driveway or on the street.
British Dictionary definitions for photocell


a device in which the photoelectric or photovoltaic effect or photoconductivity is used to produce a current or voltage when exposed to light or other electromagnetic radiation. They are used in exposure meters, burglar alarms, etc Also called photoelectric cell, electric eye
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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photocell in Science
See photoresistor.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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