Discovery of Infrared Radiation

Fire and ice, hot and cold – elemental extremes have always fascinated and challenged people. Various techniques and devices have been used throughout time to accurately measure and compare temperature conditions. For example, in the early days of ceramics manufacture, meltable materials were used, which indicated through deformation that certain higher temperatures were reached. A baker on the other hand, used a piece of paper – the quicker it became brown in the oven, the hotter the oven was. The disadvantage of both techniques was that they were not reversible – cooling could not be determined. Also, the accuracy of the results was very dependent on the user and his or her experience. It was not until the invention of the first thermoscope in the first half of the 17th Century that temperatures could begin to be measured. With an evolution of the thermoscope (which had no scale) the thermometer had various scales proposed. Between 1724 and 1742 Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and Anders Celsius defined what we probably consider as the two most commonly used temperature scales.

When did William Herschel Discover infrared?

The discovery of infrared radiation by the physicist Wilhelm Herschel at the beginning of the 19th Century opened new possibilities for measuring temperature – without contact and thus without affecting the object being measured and the measurement device itself. Compared to early infrared temperature measurement devices, which were heavy, awkward and complicated to operate, the image of such devices today has completely changed.

Modern infrared thermometers are small, ergonomic, easy to operate and can even be installed into machinery. From versatile handheld devices to special sensors for integration into existing process systems, the spectrum of product offerings is vast. A variety of accessories and software for the collection and analysis of measurement data are provided with most of infrared temperature sensors. View our selection of infrared sensors or contact our applications engineers with more questions.