Skip to main content
What???

A free resource about Spectral Emissivity & Spectral Emittance, the important optical properties of matter used in Thermal Infrared Thermography and Thermal Radiation Thermometry.

Why??

Learn about emissivity basics & why Total Emissivity is the wrong parameter for Thermal Infrared Imaging & Thermometry on our 2003 Emissivity Trail Page.

How?

Learn from Success. Why re-invent the wheel? IR Thermography & Thermometry have been used for many years, but poorly described. Here's a database of successes!

Measurement of the surface emissivity of turbid waters

Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, Volume 5, Number 4, 363-369, DOI: 10.1007/BF02843818

“Measurement of the surface emissivity of turbid waters”, Liu Wenyao, R. T. Field, R. G. Gantt and V. Klemas

http://www.springerlink.com/content/8102732046620458/

Abstract
For interpreting thermal IR imagery of the ocean surface, the emissivity of the sea surface is usually assumed to be constant, approximately 0.98. However, the emissivity varies with the roughness of the sea surface, and the concentration and type of suspended particulates.

The emissivity variations caused by the suspended sediments introduce significant errors in the satellite-derived temperature maps of turbid coastal waters.Read More

Thermal infrared remote sensing of crude oil slicks

In: Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 45, Issue 2, August 1993, Pages 225-231.

by John W. Salisbury a, Dana M. D’Aria a and Floyd F. Sabins Jr.b
aDepartment of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore U.S.A.
bChevron Oil Field Research Company, La Habra, California U.S.A.

(Abstract Online)
With all the interest on the Gulf Oil spill and recent accounts of the use by British Petroleum and others of Infrared Thermal Imaging to search for surface oil slicks, it seemed very timely to be sure we had included some links and summaries of articles dealing with the thermal Infrared optical properties of crude oil on seawater.

Article AbstractRead More

Emissivity of human skin

Novel approach to assess the emissivity of the human skin
J. Biomed. Opt., Vol. 14, 024006 (2009); DOI:10.1117/1.3086612 Published 6 March 2009
by: Francisco J. Sanchez-Marin, Sergio Calixto-Carrera, and Carlos Villaseñor-Mora
Centro de investigaciones en optica, Loma del Bosque 115, Lomas del Campestre, Leon, Guanajuato 37150, Mexico

Abstract:

To study the radiation emitted by the human skin, the emissivity of its surface must be known. We present a new approach to measure the emissivity of the human skin in vivo. Our method is based on the calculation of the difference of two infrared images: one acquired before projecting a CO2 laser beam on the surface of the skin and the other after such projection. The difference image contains the radiation reflected by the skin, which is used to calculate the emissivity, making use of Kirchhoff’s law and the Helmholtz reciprocity relation. With our method, noncontact measurements are achieved, and the determination of the skin temperature is not needed, which has been an inconvenience for other methods. We show that it is possible to make determinations of the emissivity at specific wavelengths. Last, our results confirm that the human skin obeys Lambert’s law of diffuse reflection and that it behaves almost like a blackbody at a wavelength of 10.6 µm.

Editor’s Note: Back in the 1960s there were several serious projects mounted by the US Army Medical Research Laboratory’s BioPhysics Division on determining injury thresholds of laser radiation on human skin analogs. The article THRESHOLD LESIONS INDUCED IN PORCINE SKIN BY CO2 LASER RADIATION” by Brownell, Arnold S. ; Parr, Wordie H. ; Hysell, David K. ; Dedrick, Robert, USAMRL Report No. 7327, June 1967, is available as a pdf download at: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/AD659347.

Although not fully described in the article, the measured results compared favorably with a semi-infinite solid model of heat conduction for a surface that was essentially black (10.6 micron spectral absorptivity or emissivity very close to 1.0) or fully absorbing at 10.6 microns. This editor was a member of the USAMRL BioPhysics Division staff at that time and helped with the dosimetry of the experiments described.