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Gavin Sutton

Gavin Sutton

Principal scientist

Gavin specialises in temperature measurements techniques for use in harsh environments, including laser diagnostics in flames and combustion temperature standards, acoustic thermometry, high-speed fibre-optic radiation thermometry and thermometry techniques that are independent of surface emissivity and background thermal radiation.

Currently, he is working on novel phosphor thermometry techniques capable of measuring temperatures optically, where his team have developed instrumentation and calibration methods traceable to the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90). The work includes (non-contact) single point and imaging instruments and (contact) metal-coated fibre-optic probes for high-temperature use or utilising hollow-core fibres for ionising radiation environments.

He also leads developmental activities for phosphor thermometry in nuclear decommissioning and storage for both dry and pond storage applications.

As author or co-author, he has been awarded the NPL Rayleigh award for best scientific publication on four occasions between 2007 – 2020, and in 2020, as lead author, won the Ared Cezairliyan Best Paper Award from the International Journal of Thermophysics for his combustion work.

He is author or co-author of 58 peer reviewed papers and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Strathclyde University.

Areas of interest

Reliable harsh environment thermometry

Phosphor thermometry

Optical combustion thermometers

Read about Temperature and humidity research


  1. 2007 Rayleigh award: Gavin Sutton, Andrew Levick, Gordon Edwards, Douglas Greenhalgh, A combustion temperature and species standard for the calibration of laser diagnostic techniques, Combustion and Flame, Volume 147, Issues 1–2, 2006, Pages 39-48, ISSN 0010-2180,
  2. 2014 Rayleigh award: Michael de Podesta, Robin Underwood, Gavin Sutton, Paul Morantz, Peter Harris, Darren F Mark, Finlay M Stuart, Gergely Vargha and Graham Machin, A low-uncertainty measurement of the Boltzmann constant, (2013) Metrologia 50 354, 
  3. 2017 Rayleigh award: R. Underwood, M. de Podesta, G. Sutton, L. Stanger, R. Rusby, P. Harris, P. Morantz and G. Machin, Estimates of the difference between thermodynamic temperature and the ITS-90 in the range 118 K to 303 K, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. 374: 201550048 (2016) 205 – 229,
  4. 2020 Rayleigh award: Yameng Cao, George Koutsourakis, Gavin Sutton, Sebastian Wood, James Blakesley and Fernando Castro, In situ contactless thermal characterisation and imaging of encapsulated photovoltaic devices using phosphor thermometry, Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 27, 673 (2019),
  5. 2020 Ared Cezairliyan Best Paper Award: Sutton, G., Fateev, A., Rodríguez-Conejo, M.A. et al. Validation of Emission Spectroscopy Gas Temperature Measurements Using a Standard Flame Traceable to the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90), Int J Thermophys. 40, 99 (2019).


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