Techniques to Improve Thermal Measurement of Low Emissivity Targets

Helpful Tips for Users From FLIR

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An Emissivity Measurement Technique Setup as Shown on IR InformIR Blog – Click on image to see article (Note: This is published by another FLIR organization and may show methods different than the ones in the download)

Meer, Belgium — FLIR Systems has published a new technical note that investigates and describes how to use low-cost materials to increase target emissivity to enable accurate measurement using a thermal imaging camera.

Clean, unoxidized, bare metal surfaces such as are found in many R&D applications have low emissivity. Consequently they are difficult to analyse with a thermal imaging camera.

To get good accurate temperature measurements there is a consequent need to increase the emissivity of these problematic targets.

The technical note provides an informative introduction to emissivity and how a target’s emissivity, reflectance and thermal conductivity values are highly dependent on material properties.

The authors describe several cost effective techniques to compensate for low emissivity based upon reducing the reflectance of the target enabling a significant improvement in measurement accuracy.

Further, a simple technique to facilitate fault finding on populated printed circuit boards (PCB) containing a variety of metal and plastic components using a thermal imaging camera is described.

For a copy of this new technical note please visit or contact FLIR Systems on +32-3665-5100 or

Some additional downloads relating to Emissivity may be found on the FLIR Systems website,, by using the integral search engine and requesting the term “emissivity”, “spectral emissivity*” or “emittance”. Typical current results are shown at

*ED NOTE: The, Inc. online Spectral Emissivity & Emittance website, (aka contains several more details about this often maligned physical property of matter that pose problems for many new (and some old) users of Thermal Infrared Imaging and Thermal Radiation Thermometry.

In fact, the “E-Trail or Emissivity Trail” on the original version of (still online since 1997) was prompted as a summary about the basics of emissivity. Its publication was prompted after attending a presentation by an “expert” from one of the major suppliers of industrial infrared thermometers who proved during the presentation that he had no clue about what emissivity actually was. Most attendees left more confused about emissivity than when they arrived – that was not a helpful experience for potential instrument customers!

FLIR Systems, Inc. is a world leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of sensor systems that enhance perception and awareness. FLIR’s advanced thermal imaging and threat detection systems are used for a wide variety of imaging, thermography, and security applications, including airborne and ground-based surveillance, condition monitoring, research and development, manufacturing process control, search and rescue, drug interdiction, navigation, transportation safety, border and maritime patrol, environmental monitoring, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) detection.

For more information, go to FLIR’s web site at

European HQ

FLIR Systems
Luxemburgstraat 2
2321 Meer

Tel. : +32 (0) 3665 5100
Fax : +32 (0) 3303 5624


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