The “materials by design” paradigm provides a promising path to developing new materials for better thermal management, such as those that enable more efficient, resilient energy systems or improved building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

The modern approach integrates three key processes: scalable computation, synthesis, and property characterization. While the first two have seen major advances in the last decade, heat conduction property measurement has lagged, often posing bottlenecks for accelerated materials research, especially for materials with a range of roughness, porosity, and anisotropy. That’s why novel experimental platforms for high-throughput heat conduction characterization are important.

Zheng et al. introduced a new all-optical thermal property characterization technique using Structured Illumination with Thermal Imaging (SI-TI) that combines a digital micromirror array for mapping heating patterns with thermoreflectance imaging for full-field thermometry. The technique provides megapixel levels of thermal information, in contrast to conventional “single pixel” thermal metrology methods.

“It’s the first in the field to address the need for adaptive parallelized characterization, which will advance measurement robustness and throughput for diverse samples beyond conventional methods,” said author Qiye Zheng. “Traditionally, researchers have to raster with a small heating spot to get the whole map, whereas we can measure using a single shot with multiple heaters.”

Furthermore, SI-TI facilitates screening measurements of potentially large arrays of samples, a major step toward closing the gap in the high-throughput materials by design triad.

“This work opens up a new direction in experimental thermal science that has potential for fast material screening and development,” said author Chris Dames. “It highlights SI-TI as a new avenue in adaptivity and throughput for thermal characterization of diverse materials.”

Source: “Structured illumination with thermal imaging (SI-TI): A dynamically reconfigurable metrology for parallelized thermal transport characterization,” by Qiye Zheng, Divya Chalise, Mingxin Jia, Yuqiang Zeng, Minxiang Zeng, Mortaza Saeidi-Javash, Ali N. M. Tanvir, Gottlieb Uahengo Jr., Sumanjeet Kaur, Javier E. Garay, Tengfei Luo, Yanliang Zhang, Ravi S. Prasher, and Chris Dames, Applied Physics Reviews (2022). The article can be accessed at