In this article, we report on the characterization of a photovoltaic detector based on an n-type GaN Schottky barrier. We first present the photovoltaic responsivity above the gap. Its spectrum is explained by the combined effects of absorption and diffusion. The hole diffusion length is estimated to be in the 0.1 μm range with a numerical model. The photoresponse below the gap is also investigated and it is shown that the current generated by the internal photoemission is the major contribution to the photocurrent at reverse biases at 80 K. At room temperature, an additional component to the photocurrent is clearly demonstrated and identified. This extra current stems from the existence of traps. Several spectroscopy techniques are used to characterize those traps. The supplementary current emitted from the traps in the depletion region accounts for the spectral and the temporal behavior of the Schottky photodetector at room temperature. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.