The semiconductor age led to more advanced sensors and imaging. Semiconductor imaging devices uses systems of rows and columns to organize photosensitive sections. Groups of these sections gather information to form a pixel, which contains color and brightness information. When millions of pixels are combined you end up with an image.
The Photo Diode
Understanding of cameras and solar panels starts with the photo diode. This is a device consisting of a semiconductor that absorbs photons and puts out voltage. Solar panels are basically large diameter photo diodes. The development of the photo diode led to the CCD (charge coupled device) type camera. Photo diodes are also used in infrared detectors for remote controls on TV sets and countless other devices. They are used in consumer electronics, medical technology, astronomy and war technologies. More on photo diodes
Video and Photo
Charge coupled devices and CMOS chips are the two major types of video/photo sensors. The CCD works by having photons strike a p-type semiconductor material (silicon) and the material releases free electrons. These electrons are moved through the grid and a computing component keeps track of the voltage values at each pixel. More on CCDs.