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1 Certificate of Excellence

2 Acknowledgement

3 Aim of project

4 Introduction

5 Theory

6 Apparatus required

7 Procedure followed

8 Observation

9 Conclusions

10 Precautions

11 Bibliography

Page 1 of 22
Aim of Project
The aim of the project is to demonstrate the underlying

principles of electrical conduction under the influence of

light. Various applications are possible by employing this

simple principle such as (A) Automatic switching of

street lamps, (b) Intruder’s alarm, (c) Morning wake up

alarm, (d) Fire alarm, (e) Light intensity meters, (f)

Automatic elevator doors etc. to name a few.

In this project, I have demonstrated the intruder’s alarm

in a simple manner which is easy to understand. The

heart of the project is an LDR or Light Dependent

Resistor. This project could have been done using a

photo-voltaic cell in place of LDR but the circuit would

have become complicated in the case of photocell.

Page 2 of 22
A photoresistor or light-dependent resistor(LDR) is a

light-controlled variable resistor. The resistance of a

photoresistor decreases with increasing incident light

intensity; in other words, it exhibits Photoconductivity.

A photoresistor can be applied in light-sensitive

detector circuits, and light and dark activated switching

circuits.These resistors use pure semiconductors like

silicon or germanium. When the light falls on the LDR,

then the electrons get excited by the incident photons

and move from the valence band to the conduction band

and therefore the number of charge carriers increases. In

other words, the conductivity goes up.

Distinction needs to be made here between photocells

and LDRs. In a photocell, when it is excited by light

(photons), electricity is generated. Unlike photocells,

LDRs, do not generate electricity but only change their


Page 3 of 22
Alight dependentresistor works on the principle of photo

conductivity.Photo conductivity is an electro-optical

phenomenon in which the material’s conductivity is

increased when light is absorbed by the material. Modern

light dependent resistors are made of materials such as

lead sulphide, lead selenide, indium antimonide and most

commonly cadmium sulphide (CdS) and cadmium


Page 4 of 22
When light falls i.e. when the photons fall on the

material, the electrons in the valence band of the

semiconductor material are excited to the conduction

band. These photons in the incident light should have

energy greater than the band gap of the semiconductor

material to make the electrons jump from the valence

band to the conduction band. Hence when light having

enough energy strikes on the device, more and more

electrons are excited to the conduction band which

results in large number of charge carriers. The result of

this process is more and

more current starts flowing

through the device when

the circuit is closed and

hence it is said that the

resistance of the device has

been decreased. This is

themost common working principle of LDR.

Page 5 of 22
This can be clearly seen from the graph. The resistance of

the LDR falls rapidly with the increasing intensity of the

incident light.

The converse is also true when light intensity is reduced

or cut off.

Page 6 of 22
The project consists of the following apparatus:

1. Light source (white, ultra-violet and laser)

2. LDR

3. Switching circuit

4. Relay

5. Buzzer

6. Batteries

7. Housing for the above

Page 7 of 22
An empty cardboard box was used to mimic a house. An

opening was cut on the box to present a door. Behind

the door, a light source is placed and in the line of vision

of the light source, an LDR is also placed.

A circuit is connected to the LDR which switches on a

relay when the light beam is intercepted. A schematic

diagram of the set-up is shown below:







Page 8 of 22
As seen in the above diagram, a light source is positioned

behind the door on the right hand side and an LDR is

placed in the same line of vision at the opposite end of

the door. When the light beam falls on the LDR, it lowers

the resistance of the same and this activates the

switching transistor circuit. The transistor circuit

(described later) is connected to a relay which is in turn

connected to an external buzzer.

The relay is a special type of switch which is driven by its

magnetic coil. The relay has two positions. In de-

energized condition, position-1 will be active and in

energized condition, position-2 will be active.

When the circuit is powered, the relay goes to position-1

to which the buzzer is connected. Thus, the buzzer will

start ringing. But when the light source is switched on,

the resistance of LDR falls and this drives the transistor

switching circuit and the relay gets energized. This puts

the relay switch in position-2, which cuts off the buzzer.

In this condition, whenever the light beam is

Page 9 of 22
interceptedby an opaque object, the LDR stops receiving

the incident light and its resistance becomes high. This

de-energizes the relay and puts it to position-1 and the

buzzer starts ringing.

Thus, to summarize, we can say that the as long as the

light source is on and the LDR is illuminated, the buzzer

will not ring. But the moment, the light source is

interrupted, the buzzer will start ringing.

We can Imagine the interruption of the light beam to be

caused by an intruder and hence this arrangement can

automatically detect any intruder by turning on the


The buzzer is just one of the devices we have connected

to the relay. As such we can connect many devices to the

relay such as sirens, flashing lights or even an automatic

dialer to the nearest police station. This intruder alarm

can be easily set up in houses, banks, schools etc.

Page 10 of 22
The same circuit can be rewired to reverse the effect of

light. Viz. we can make the buzzer ring whenever, light is

present and interestingly this set up can be used as a

morning alarm.

Circuit Diagram

Now, let us understand how the switching takes place

when the LDR is illuminated by light. For the automatic

switching, we have used the following circuit consisting of

Transistors. One of the most common uses for transistors

in an electronic circuit is as simple switches. In short, a

transistor conducts

current across the


path only when

sufficient voltage is

applied to its base.

When no sufficient base voltage is present, the switch is

off. When sufficient base voltage is present, the switch


Page 11 of 22
The circuit uses two transistors, connected in series. The

base voltage of the first transistor is adjusted carefully

through the variable resistor (potentiometer) so that the

slightest increase in the base voltage can fire the

transistor T1. Thus, when there is no light on the LDR,

the transistor remains un-fired. But when light falls on

the LDR, the LDR starts conducting and the net base

voltage of transistor T1 crosses the threshold voltage,

causing T1 to fire. As a consequence, the collector

current of T1 drives transistor T2 and T2 begins to fire.

The collector current of T2 is now large enough to

energize the relay. The relay gets energized and changes

the contact position from 1 to 2. When light is cut off,

the base voltage of T1 falls back to less than the

threshold voltage of its base –emitter junction and

therefore, the relay gets de-energized.

As stated earlier, the relay is connected to a buzzer

through a battery. So, whenever, light is interrupted, the

Page 12 of 22
relay goes to position-1 where, the buzzer is connected

and the buzzer starts ringing.

The ringing buzzer wards off the intruder and also alerts

the neighbors about the intrusion. In addition to the

buzzer, one can also connect a high intensity flash light

to warn the people in the neighborhood about the


Needless to say, one has also to install a stealth switch

that is known only to the owner so that the owner can

disable it for his own entry.

Page 13 of 22
In the set up described, the following observations were

made by (a) varying the nature of light source, (b)

varying the translucency of the interceptor object.

Table of observations

S.No Type of Light Material of Result

Source Interceptor
1 White light Opaque Buzzer Rings
Transparent Buzzer does
not ring.
2 Near ultra- Opaque Buzzer Rings
violet Transparent Buzzer does
not ring.
3 Low intensity Opaque Buzzer Rings
red laser Transparent Buzzer does
not ring.

Page 14 of 22
Extension of scope in future

The device was also tested under invisible light using a

TV remote control as an infrared light source. The same

observations were made as above. This extends the scope

of the project to the invisible light sources such as

ultraviolet and infrared. The advantage is that; we can

dupe the intruder by using invisible light as the light rays

will not be visible even in the night.

Another interesting application that can be thought of is

an automatic ‘people counter’ that can be used to

measure the number of people traversing a certain

passage or entrance in an auditorium or theatre. It can

also be used as a ‘traffic counter’ in check posts and toll

gates. For this, we have to simply

replace the buzzer with a digital

counter. A typical digital counter

is shown in the


Page 15 of 22
Based on the observation above, it can be concluded that

the LDR based electronic switch can be successfully

deployed for the following applications:

1. Intruder detection / burglar’s alarm for home uses.

2. Anti-theft alarm for Banks and offices.

3. People Counter at Auditoriums

4. Vehicle counter at traffic check posts.

Page 16 of 22
The project uses certain devices that can be harmful to

humans and animals if proper caution and care are not


1. Laser diode: Although we have used a low intensity

laser, this can be harmful if aimed accidently at the
eyes or if the reflected beam is seen through naked
eye. It is suggested to wear protective sun-glasses
while assembling / positioning the light source.

2. Ultraviolet LED: UV LED with wavelengths between

315 and 400 nm, which emits the least energetic
and harmful type of UV light. However, prolonged
exposure should be avoided which can damage the
skin and eyes.

3. Buzzer: This device emits high frequency audio

sounds that can damage the ears when put close to
the ears or heard for prolonged period.

Page 17 of 22
4. The LDR: Should a need arise to destroy the project;
care should be taken to dispose off the LDR properly
as it contains harmful chemicals that can damage
the environment.

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Help from
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