Photothermal radiometry is an infrared remote sensing technique that has been used for skin and skin appendages research, in the areas of skin hydration, hydration gradient, skin hydration depth profiling, skin thickness measurements, skin pigmentation measurements, effect of topically applied substances, transdermal drug delivery, moisture content of bio-materials, membrane permeation, and nail and hair measurements. Compared with other technologies, photothermal radiometry has the advantages of non-contact, non-destructive, quick to make a measurement (a few seconds), and being spectroscopic in nature. It is also colour blind, and can work on any arbitrary sample surfaces. It has a unique depth profiling capability on a sample surface (typically the top 20 µm), which makes it particularly suitable for skin measurements. In this paper, we present a review of the photothermal radiometry work carried out in our research group. We will first introduce the theoretical background, then illustrate its applications with experimental results.
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