How Does an Infrared Thermometer Work?

There is an understanding among us that thermometer is used to measure the temperature of different objects with the help of probes. But the probe thermometers are long gone; today the market offers various other types such as K-type, temperature data loggers, dual-sensor thermometer, analog thermometer, infrared thermometers.

Of all these types, the working mechanism, and functions of an infrared triggers one’s curiosity. This type of thermometer is largely used in various industries to determine the surface temperature. The best part of the infrared thermometer is that they can determine the temperature of an object from far.

The delicate nature of an object or the danger associated with being close to particular objects calls for an infrared thermometer. So let’s understand through this article how the working of an infrared thermometer.

The working of an infrared thermometer

The fact that infrared thermometer makes it possible to get a temperature reading of objects and places hard to reach makes it interesting. Understanding the concept and phenomenon behind the working of infrared thermometer tells us how powerful and easy to use the device it is.

Infrared thermometer work based on a phenomenon known as black body radiation. The thermometer doesn’t measure the heat of an object directly rather the light. Anything that has a temperature more than zero degrees contain molecules and these molecule moves around. The molecules at higher temperature move fast emit an infrared light not visible to the human eye. Human eyes cannot see light with a wavelength longer than red visible light.

How does the thermometer measure temperature using infrared light?

The infrared thermometer uses infrared light or infrared radiation to measure the temperature as everything emits it. Infrared radiation is one of the ways to transfer the heat. Though we cannot perceive the light emitted we can still feel the heat.

Since infrared light is reflected like that of visible light it can be channeled, focused or observed. An infrared thermometer is made of lens and detector called a thermopile. This detector thermopile absorbs the infrared radiation emitted by anything and everything. Then the detector converts the thermal reading into electric signals that are used in determining the temperature of an object.

But it is important to note that the accuracy of infrared thermometer depends in part at a distance from which it is tested. The farther you are from the object the harder it gets to get an accurate reading.

Uses of Infrared thermometer

  1. An infrared thermometer is used to determine the temperature of an eardrum. The eardrum is the most sensitive part of an ear, touching it or poking it can be dangerous. Hence ENT doctors and specialist use an infrared thermometer to determine the temperature from close without actually touching the eardrum.
  2. A firefighter uses an infrared thermometer to detect the temperature of hot spots. When entering a building to put off fire especially the parts burning fiercely having accurate reading help them.

3.      They are used in manufacturing and assembling of sensitive objects of an electronic device without damaging them.