Thermal imaging, or thermography, detects heat patterns or temperature changes in objects. We've silently lusted after a thermal imaging camera from Fluke or FLIR for years, but WOW are they expensive! The ability to look at a heatsink under heat test - to perhaps discover poor solder joints affecting conduction, heatpipes that aren't functioning, hot spots and cold areas - well, that's the stuff of FrostyTech's dreams. The $10,000 price tag, not so much.
A real challenge with thermography comes from the metals used in heatsinks, much of it being shiny copper and shiny aluminum. Emissivity is a term representing a material's ability to emit thermal radiation, and where emissivity is concerned, shiny metal is bad. Shiny metallic surfaces, from the small bit of research we've done, plays havoc with how accurate radiometric measurements are. In that sense, relying on radiometric data to quote temperature values, for example from the base of a heatsink up the heatpipes to the outer fins, might not be that accurate. This image from Fluke's website drives the point home. Parts of the spoon appear to the thermal camera as hot as the cup of coffee, even though that's not so. Another example further drives the point home.
Still, Frostytech would absolutely love to offer thermographic imagery of Intel and AMD processor heatsinks if the challenges can be overcome. Unfortunately there isn't a way around the significant cost hurdle. :(
Here are Fluke's newest thermal Imagers.
For more information on Thermography Principles, Fluke are giving away a 72-page book on the topic here.