The model of the equations of generalized thermoelasticity based on the Lord–Shulman's theory with nonlocal elasticity effect is used to study the photothermal waves in a semiconducting medium. The exact expressions for the displacement components, temperature, carrier density, and stress components are obtained by using normal mode analysis. Numerically simulated results are obtained and presented graphically for silicon. The comparisons are shown graphically to explore the effects of the time and the elastic nonlocal parameter on the different physical quantities. © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.