Electronics. any device, as a photodiode, phototube, or photovoltaic cell, that uses the photoelectric effect to convert radiant energy into an electrical signal.

1945–50; photo- + detector Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Example sentences
If the photons from the two ions are in the same state, the beam splitter will
  shunt both to one photodetector.
The problem is that the photodetector part of the silicon often sits below
  layers of transistors, metal wires, and a color filter.
Precisely timed light pulses are launched into the fiber and strike a
  photodetector at the other end.
The subject breathes into a tube that contains a laser, a system of mirrors,
  and a photodetector.
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