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Temperature Sensors


From prehistoric times people were aware of heat and trying to assess its intensity by measuring temperature. Perhaps the simplest and certainly the most widely used phenomenon for temperature sensing is thermal expansion. This forms the basis of the liquid-in-glass thermometers. For the electrical transduction, different methods of sensing are employed. Some of them are the resistive, thermoelectric, semiconductive, optical, acoustic, and piezoelectric detectors.


  • Temperature Sensor
  • Negative Temperature Coefficient
  • Contact Sensor
  • Reference Sensor
  • Thermal Shield

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  1. 1.

    Kirchhoff’s law was originally developed not for the electrical circuits but for plumbing.

  2. 2.

    This is the reason why an IR thermometer requires an ambient sensor that is thermally connected to the IR sensor.

  3. 3.

    The International Temperature Scale of 1990 was adopted by the International Committee of Weights and Measures at its meeting in 1989. This scale supersedes the International Practical Temperature Scale of 1968 (amended edition of 1975) and the 1976 Provisional Temperature Scale.

  4. 4.

    Actually, water is not used. Mineral oil or Fluorinert® electronic fluid is more of practical liquid.

  5. 5.

    Note that β and T are in kelvin. When temperature is indicated as t, the scale is in celsius.

  6. 6.

    A hard voltage source means any voltage source having a near zero output resistance and capable of delivering unlimited current without a change in voltage.

  7. 7.

    A lot of very valuable information can be found in

  8. 8.

    Trademark of the Driver-Harris Company.

  9. 9.

    Trademark of the International Nickel Company.


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Fraden, J. (2010). Temperature Sensors. In: Handbook of Modern Sensors. Springer, New York, NY.

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