Microscale thermal measurement by the atomic force microscope (AFM) with a thermocouple probe has been investigated. Temperature distribution measurement of a small heater and thermal visualization of a composite material, carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), were conducted with controlling an ambient air pressure. In the temperature measurement, it has been shown a temperature image is affected by heat conduction through the ambient air in a spatial resolution and contrast. The performance is evaluated at 30 μm spatial resolution in a high contrast image under the atmospheric pressure condition, while less than 1 μm resolution in a noisy image under the low pressure condition. In the microscale thermal characteristics measurement, carbon fiber and epoxy resin in the CFRP are thermally distinguished by detecting contact point temperature, implying thermal visualization is possible. The heat conduc-tion simulation shows the thermal image displays overall thermal conductance of the sample from the back side to the contact point which is decided by contact scale, thermo-physical properties and material structure.

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