A method and apparatus for enabling analysis of a material (16, 42) by applying a cooling medium (20, 54) to cool a thin surface layer portion of the material and to transiently generate a temperature differential between the thin surface layer portion and the lower portion of the material sufficient to alter the thermal infrared emission spectrum of the material from the black-body thermal infrared emission spectrum of the material. The altered thermal infrared emission spectrum of the material is detected by a spectrometer/detector (28, 50) while the altered thermal infrared emission spectrum is sufficiently free of self-absorption by the material of the emitted infrared radiation. The detection is effected prior to the temperature differential propagating into the lower portion of the material to an extent such that the altered thermal infrared emission spectrum is no longer sufficiently free of self-absorption by the material of emitted infrared radiation, so that the detected altered thermal infrared emission spectrum is indicative of the characteristics relating to the molecular composition of the material.
ISURF Reference Number
Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc.,
McClelland, John F. and Jones, Roger W., "Apparatus and method for transient thermal infrared spectrometry" (1991). Iowa State University Patents. 186.