[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. photobomb,
  2. photocard,
  3. photocatalysis,
  4. photocatalyst,
  5. photocathode,
  6. photochemical,
  7. photochemical smog,
  8. photochemistry,
  9. photochemotherapy,
  10. photochromic

Origin of photocell

First recorded in 1890–95; photo- + cell1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for photocells

  • Eyes and photocells turned inquisitorially upon Roger Snedden.

    Bread Overhead|Fritz Reuter Leiber
  • All the photocells on Earth and Venus and Mercury are at present busy storing the sun's power in atostors.

    The Ultimate Weapon|John Wood Campbell
  • Rose Thinker spun twice on her chair and opened her photocells wide.

    Bread Overhead|Fritz Reuter Leiber

British Dictionary definitions for photocells


/ (ˈfəʊtəʊˌsɛl) /


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, etcAlso 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

Science definitions for photocells


[ fōtō-sĕl′ ]

See photoresistor.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.