Individual Microparticle Measurements for Increased Resolution of Thermoluminescent Temperature Sensing

Philip Armstrong, Merlin Mah, Howard Ross, Joseph Talghader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Typically when microsensor particles are used to monitor temperatures in harsh environments, a statistical number of particles are collected and measured in aggregate. While this method is undoubtedly the most practical method for the rapid acquisition of overall temperature data, the limitations of collective measurements of numbers of particles versus individual ones has never been explored. In this paper, the thermoluminescent (TL) magnesium borate microparticles are used to measure temperatures inside the periphery of explosions with collective and individual behavior contrasted. It is found that individual measurement indicate that some particles undergo extreme temperature while others seem to have had no exposure to high temperature at all. The microparticles were irradiated with 200Gy of gamma radiation to fill the traps in the band gap. Several grams of the irradiated microparticles were placed at various distances from the source of the detonation. After the microparticles were collected the TL curve was measured for microparticles that were in the detonation and a control group of microparticles not in the detonation. The TL curve of an individual microparticle was measured by placing the microparticle ranging in size from 25μm to 75μm on a microheater with an area of 300μm × 300μm. The microheater was then used to heat the microparticle at a linear rate while the thermoluminescence of the microparticle was measured. A summation of first-order kinetics curves were used to do a fit to the thermoluminescence curves of the microparticles that were in the detonation and the control group. By comparing the ratio of first-order kinetic curve peaks of the particles that were in the detonation to the control group the temperature that the particles in the explosion were calculated. This process was carried out for many different particles that were in the same detonation and collected from the same location in the explosive test chamber. Individual extracted temperatures from the microparticles show a large distribution ranging from room temperature to 516°C, but in aggregate, the microparticles show a clustering of temperatures around 290°C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4422-4428
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

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  • Thermoluminescence
  • microheater
  • temperature sensor


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