"Thermal prism" method for measuring thermophysical properties of thin films

T. Elperin, G. Rudin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theoretical principles underlying the photothermal method for measuring the thickness and thermal properties of a thin film located between two optical elements ("sandwich") are analyzed. The method is based on the irradiation of the assembly by repetitive pulse laser radiation. Radiation is absorbed in the film and causes heating of the optical elements by heat conduction. The element is monitored by a narrow beam of a second low-power laser propagating through the heated region. The beam is deflected due to the spatial variation of the refractive index, and the magnitude of the deflection angle as a function of time contains the relaxation and "wave" components. It is shown that the phase of the "wave" component depends on the thickness and thermophysical properties of the film. The thermophysical properties of the film can be determined, provided that the analogous properties of the optical element are measured previously or otherwise known, by comparing experimentally measured values of the phase shift with theoretical values obtained from the analytical solution of the non-stationary two-dimensional heat conduction equation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-763
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Thermophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Coating
  • Laser heating
  • Phase shift
  • Thermal prism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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