EST Monitoring Using Infrared Thermography

Elevated Skin Temperature (EST) monitoring, is an extension of the field of thermography applied to measuring skin temperature. The premise of EST monitoring is to help identify one of the markers — a higher than normal skin temperature — in a person to isolate and further test them for symptoms of Sars-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19. Although a higher than normal skin temperature by no means implies that a person is infected, experts do confirm a correlation. EST monitoring allows companies to scan tens or even hundreds of people at scale to help isolate and stop the potential spread of the virus.

Infrared Thermography

Electromagnetic Spectrum — Infrared Wavelength Band
Electromagnetic Spectrum — Infrared Wavelength Band
Electromagnetic Spectrum — Infrared Wavelength Band

Firefighters use thermography-based IR cameras to see through smoke, maintenance personnel use it to locate overheated joints in power lines, a sign of impending failure, and HVAC engineers use it to improve the efficiency of their heating and cooling systems. Astronomers use it to explore the depths of space.

Thermal Imaging Cameras
Thermal Imaging Cameras
Thermal Imaging Cameras

How Does an EST Monitoring System Work?

EST Monitoring at Airport Using a Thermal an Infrared Camera
EST Monitoring at Airport Using a Thermal an Infrared Camera
EST Monitoring at Airport Using a Thermal an Infrared Camera

Advantages of Contactless EST Monitoring

  • Faster readout than a forehead or oral thermometer
  • Scientific studies show that, when used correctly, systems that measure skin temperature via infrared are generally accurate

Optical Components in IR Cameras

Optical Components in IR Thermography Cameras
Optical Components in IR Thermography Cameras
Optical Components in IR Thermography Cameras

An important component of the IR camera is its internal optical lenses that “see” infrared wavelengths within the electromagnetic spectrum. These optics are responsible for focusing infrared energy onto the detector. The materials of these optics and the quality of the optical coating determines how efficiently infrared energy is transmitted which in turn determines the quality of the image that is generated.

Measuring Elevated Skin Temperature (EST)

  1. Using a black body as a calibrated reference temperature source and using absolute temperature measurements.
Measuring EST (source: fda.gov)
Measuring EST (source: fda.gov)
Measuring EST (source: fda.gov)

Instead of CCDs that are used in digital cameras, the IR camera detector uses a focal plane array (FPA) of micrometer size pixels made of materials sensitive to IR wavelengths. The quality of the lenses (pixel density) and the software algorithms drives the resolution and hence accuracy of the temperature readout, but one can achieve precision within ±1°C.

The lenses in the optical assembly of the IR cameras demand a high-performance anti-reflective (AR) coating for best results. EMF, a Dynasil company, offers HEAR (High Efficiency Anti Reflective) and DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coatings on most IR substrates including Germanium (Ge), Silicon (Si), Zinc Selenide (ZnSe), Zinc Sulfide (Zns) and Chalcogenides.

About EMF

A publicly-owned multinational corporation focused on cutting-edge research and commercial product development in photonics — materials, components & coatings.

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