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Designation : Lecturer
Branch : Electronics & communication Engg
Institute : Govt. Polytechnic, Visakhapatnam
Year/Semester : III Semester
Subject : Electronics -I
Subject Code : EE-305
Topic : Special devices
Duration : 50Mts.
Sub Topic : Photo Transistor
Teaching Aids : Diagrams

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• Already we know about the

• Photodiode construction.

• Working of Photodiode.

• Characteristics of Photodiode.

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• Upon completion of this period the student will be

able to know

• Phototransistor construction.

• Working of Phototransistor.

• Characteristics of Phototransistor.

• Applications of Phototransistor.

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Do you know

• Reverse current in a photodiode depends on.

• Thermal runaway.

• Total collector current in a transistor.

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Construction of Photo transistor


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Construction of Photo transistor

• A photo transistor is
nothing but an ordinary
bi-polar transistor in
which the base region is
exposed to the

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Construction of Photo transistor
• These photo transistors are
available in both the P-N-P and +V cc
N-P-N types.

• Common emitter configuration is

generally used.

• In a photo transistor, the base

terminal is made open. The fig
shows an N-P-N Transistor, in
common emitter configuration
with open base.

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Construction of Photo transistor

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Principle of Photo Transistor

• In general, the expression for collector current IC is given by

IC = β IB + (1+ β) ICBO

• Where β = Current amplification factor in CE configuration

IB = base current
ICBO = Collector-to-base leakage current

• Since base terminal open, IB = 0

IC = (1+ β) ICBO

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Principle of Photo transistor

• In this case the collector current is equal to the collector-

emitter leakage current CEO which is given by.

• ICEO = (1+ β) ICBO

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Principle of Photo Transistor

• When the collector junction is illuminated by incident

light, I CBO increases, similar to the reverse saturation
current in a photo diode.

• From the above equation that when ICBO is increased,

the collector current IC also increases proportionately.

• Since ‘beta’ is large even a small variation of I CBO can

produce a considerable variation in IC.

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Principle of Photo Transistor

• A photo transistor
provides larger output
current than that of a
photo diode for a given
amount of illumination
• The device is embedded
in a clear plastic casing.
In general TO-type lens
package with a lens on
the top.

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V-I Characteristics of Photo transistor

• The collector
characteristics of photo
transistor is shown in the

• The curves show the

variation of the collector
current IC , with collector-
to-emitter voltage VCE for
different illumination

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V-I Characteristics of Photo transistor

• The graph is almost

similar to the output
characteristics of
common emitter

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V-I Characteristics of Photo transistor

• But here, instead of base

current, the illumination is
varied for getting different

• It can be seen that the

collector current
increases for the
increased illumination

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Applications of Photo Transistor

• Arrays of photo transistors are widely used as photo

detectors is punched card and tape read out.

• They are used as light operated switches.

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Applications of Photo Transistor

• In production line, photo transistors can be used for

counting objects.

• In addition to the above, photo transistors can also be

used in place of photo diodes for many applications
when higher sensitivity is required.

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• In phototransistor base region is exposed to illumination.

• When illumination level increased the collector current


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1) Photo transistor is mostly preferred than photo diode

because it provides________ for same light illumination.

(c) smaller current

(e) larger current.

(g) same current.

(i) no current.

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Frequently asked questions

• Explain working of phototransistor with the help of

relevant diagram .

• List the applications of phototransistor

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