photoelectric

adjective
pho·to·elec·tric | \ˌfō-tō-i-ˈlek-trik \

Definition of photoelectric 

: involving, relating to, or utilizing any of various electrical effects due to the interaction of radiation (such as light) with matter

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Other Words from photoelectric

photoelectrically \ˌfō-tō-i-ˈlek-tri-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

What Is the photoelectric Effect?

The photoelectric effect *occurs when light (or similar radiation such as X-rays) falls on a material such as a metal plate and causes it to emit electrons. The discovery of the photoelectric effect led to important new theories about matter (and to a Nobel Prize for Albert Einstein). *Photoelectric cells, *or *photocells, are used in burglar-alarm light detectors and garage-door openers (both employ a beam of light that is broken when something moves across it), and also to play soundtracks on movie film (where a light beam shines through the soundtrack encoded on the film and is "read" by the photocells).

Examples of photoelectric in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In other business, council authorized Fire Chief Patrick Sweeney to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a $25,000 Fire Prevention and Safety Grant to purchase optical or photoelectric smoke detectors. Thomas Jewell, cleveland.com, "Shaker sells foreclosed Van Aken condo for $1: City Council recap," 28 Feb. 2018 Classical physics held that light was a wave, but that theory couldn’t explain how and why metals emit electrons when illuminated—a phenomenon called the photoelectric effect. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Einstein May Be About to Be Proved Right—Again," 10 Feb. 2016 After spending about a bajillion chapters on optics, the authors start talking about the photoelectric effect. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "Models, photons, and more," 24 Feb. 2009 Genius is an in-depth dramatic look at the life and career of the theoretical physicist who, among other things, explained the photoelectric effect that made the invention of television possible. Darryn King, VanityFair.com, "What Is Emoji Einstein, and Why Doesn’t Geoffrey Rush Want to Play Him?," 24 Apr. 2017 Genius is an in-depth dramatic look at the life and career of the theoretical physicist who, among other things, explained the photoelectric effect that made the invention of television possible. Vanityfair.com, VanityFair.com, "What Is Emoji Einstein, and Why Doesn’t Geoffrey Rush Want to Play Him?," 24 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'photoelectric.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of photoelectric

circa 1879, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for photoelectric

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for photoelectric

The first known use of photoelectric was circa 1879

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More Definitions for photoelectric

photoelectric

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of photoelectric

: involving, relating to, or using an electric current that is controlled by light

photoelectric

adjective
pho·to·elec·tric | \ˌfōt-ō-i-ˈlek-trik \

Medical Definition of photoelectric 

: involving, relating to, or utilizing any of various electrical effects due to the interaction of radiation (as light) with matter

Other Words from photoelectric

photoelectrically \-tri-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on photoelectric

Spanish Central: Translation of photoelectric

Nglish: Translation of photoelectric for Spanish Speakers

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