Thermography of the Human Body

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Science  24 May 1963:
Vol. 140, Issue 3569, pp. 870-877
DOI: 10.1126/science.140.3569.870


Human skin is an almost perfect emitter of infrared radiation in the spectral region beyond 3 microns. This energy may be recorded as a thermogram to yield a quantitative temperature map of the skin. If the nude subject has remained quiet in a cool room for 10 to 15 minutes prior to thermography, the skin temperatures are determined largely by the vascularity of the skin itself and by the heat conducted from within the body. Since, under these conditions, the contrasts which appear arise essentially from the internal sources of heat, the resulting thermograms yield information concerning certain pathological conditions within the body (16).