We fabricate and investigate field-effect transistors in which a light-absorbing photogate modulates the flow of current along the channel. The photogate consists of colloidal quantum dots that efficiently transfer photoelectrons to the channel across a charge-separating (type-II) heterointerface, producing a primary and sustained secondary flow that is terminated via electron back-recombination across the interface. We explore colloidal quantum dot sizes corresponding to bandgaps ranging from 730 to 1475 nm and also investigate various stoichiometries of aluminum-doped ZnO (AZO) channel materials. We investigate the role of trap state energies in both the colloidal quantum dot energy film and the AZO channel. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.