Measurement of bioluminescence and thermal fields from humans: Comparison of three techniques for imaging biofields

Katherine Creath, Gary E Schwartz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


All biological objects emit radiation over a large wavelength range as part of metabolic processes. We hypothesize that biofields surrounding living biological objects can be observed by imaging the photonic and thermal radiation emitted. In this paper we compare three different methods of visualizing biofields we have developed over the last 3-1/2 years: imaging of self-bioluminescence with a highly-sensitive silicon CCD array, dynamic interferometry for measurement of subtle thermal microbursts from biological objects correlated with pulse and respiration, and infrared imaging in the 3-5μm region. Although the self-bioluminescence signal is weak from humans, it can be imaged using 10min exposures with a highly sensitive camera. These speeds do not enable tracking of dynamic changes, but they do enable looking at subtle processes that have not been previously imaged. Dynamic interferometry provides a means of measuring subtle variations in refractive index of air currents by freezing them in time. These air currents are related to bursts of thermal energy emitted by the human body. Although the body is not directly measured, it is possible to track cycles in the range of tenths of seconds to many seconds. Infrared imaging has the advantage of both being fast and not requiring a darkened enclosure. Subtle changes in temperature can be tracked, but ambient environmental conditions need to be controlled to get absolute numbers. Tracking relative changes works the best with this technique. Each of these techniques has advantages and disadvantages that are outlined in this paper. The technique of choice depends upon the particular application. The rate at which the technology is developing and improving indicates that soon it will be much easier to apply any of these techniques to a wider variety of applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventThe Nature of Light: Light in Nature - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 16 2006 → …


OtherThe Nature of Light: Light in Nature
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period8/16/06 → …



  • Autoluminescence
  • Biofield measurement
  • Bioluminescence
  • Biophoton imaging
  • Dynamic interferometry
  • Infrared imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Creath, K., & Schwartz, G. E. (2006). Measurement of bioluminescence and thermal fields from humans: Comparison of three techniques for imaging biofields. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering (Vol. 6285). [628505]