Scientists create method to measure temperature inside objects

Called depth thermography, technique can help determine heat in semiconductors and even nuclear reactors

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new technique capable of measuring the temperature below the surface of a three-dimensional object. The method may generate a new way of determining whether semiconductors or even nuclear reactors are too hot.

Temperature sensors that measure the internal heat of devices give thermal radiation that comes from the surface of the object – the hotter it is, the more radiation emitted. The new method, dubbed depth thermography, is able to infiltrate the surface of certain types of materials that are partially transparent to infrared radiation.

Mikhail Kats / University of Wisconsin-Madison

To develop the method, the team of scientists heated a piece of fused quartz and analyzed it with a spectrometer. With the help of computational tools, they measured the temperature at various depths by calculating the thermal radiation emitted by the objects. In reversing the process, they used an algorithm to determine the temperature gradient that best fits the experimental results.

The researchers say they still need to deepen their studies, applying techniques to materials with multiple layers in order to use machine learning to improve the process.

The potential applications of the system are many: measure the temperature of semiconductors, for example, or even measure and map clouds of gases and liquids at high temperature. The method could be applied to nuclear reactors and still replace current tools, which may not survive long when exposed to temperatures above 700 degrees Celsius.

The study was published in the scientific journal ACS Photonics.


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