The recently introduced photothermoelectric (PTE) effect is proposed for investigating the dynamic thermal parameters of condensed matter samples. The front detection configuration, together with the thermal-wave resonator cavity (TWRC) method as scanning procedure, was used to measure the value of thermal effusivity. The back configuration, together with the TWRC technique and/or the chopping frequency of the incident radiation as scanning parameter, leads to the direct measurement of thermal diffusivity. Recent applications to solid (materials with different values of thermal parameters) and liquid (nanofluids) samples are summarized. The ferro-paraelectric phase transition of triglycine-sulphate (TGS) was also detected. The performances of the PTE method have been compared with those of the photopyroelectric (PPE) technique.