Photothermal thermophysics: techniques for the measurement of thermophysical properties of matter

A. Mandelis1

1University of Toronto, Canada

Keywords: photothermal thermophysics, instrumentation and measurements
property: diffusion waves, thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity
material: -

The introduction of photothermal phenomena in the 1970’s has generated a wealth of diagnostic techniques which are fundamentally thermophysical in nature and have grown into diverse fields spanning disciplines from fundamental physics, spectroscopy and analytical chemistry to food science, semiconductor properties, materials science and non-destructive evaluation, agricultural and environmental sciences and sensors.  As is well-known to practitioners and users of thermophysical techniques, there are physical limitations associated with diffusive field transport and interactions with gaseous, liquid and solid matter. In this talk I will briefly discuss the mathematical fundamentals of the peculiar nature of parabolic diffusion-wave fields ("Diffusion Waves and their Uses", Physics Today Vol. 53, Part I, August 2000, pp. 29-34) and will present a review of non-conventional ultrasensitive photothermal techniques, instrumentation methodologies and technologies introduced at the Center for Advanced Diffusion-Wave Technologies, University of Toronto, throughout the past 30 years, precisely aimed at enhancing and optimizing the unique and considerable diagnostic capabilities of photothermal thermophysics.  Highlights will include: the thermal-wave cavity for environmental gas and fluid pollution monitoring; the depth profilometric thermophysical inverse problem with applications to industrial case-hardened steels and biomaterials; and dental thermophotonics, the kinetics of early enamel demineralization caries induced by, e.g., orange juice, followed by fluoride-mediated remineralization processes, as measured through time-evolving changes in thermal diffusivity and conductivity.

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