Our People

Sciencelens DSF2214

Peter Saunders

Distinguished Scientist

Temperature and Humidity

Areas of expertise

• Radiation thermometry – calibration and characterisation of instrument properties
• Modelling of reflection errors in industrial radiation thermometry
• Uncertainty propagation
• Software design for data analysis, including non-linear curve fitting
• Automation of instrumentation


• PhD, Atomic Physics, 1993.


Peter has been working at MSL since 1993 in the area of radiation thermometry, carrying out research in both metrological radiation thermometry and industrial applications. He has worked as a visiting researcher for eight months at IMGC (now INRiM) in Italy, where he investigated the application of CCD cameras to radiation thermometry.
Peter has published more than 70 papers and articles on radiation-thermometry-related topics, and is the author of the book Radiation Thermometry: Fundamentals and Applications in the Petrochemical Industry. He won the NZ Royal Society Cooper Medal in 2004 for research he carried out in understanding the physical basis of equations used in the calibration of radiation thermometers. He represents New Zealand on the CIPM’s Consultative Committee for Thermometry (CCT) is an active member of the CCT Working Group on Non-Contact Thermometry.
Scientific highlights for Peter include work on: the size-of-source effect in radiation thermometers, the measurement of non-linearity using a combinatorial technique, analysis of a double-wavelength technique for measuring thermodynamic temperature, calibration equations for radiation thermometers and uncertainty propagation, and reflection errors in industrial radiation thermometry.
Peter is a technical expert for many IANZ accredited thermometry laboratories in New Zealand.

Professional activities

• Member of CCT (Consultative Committee for Thermometry)
• Member of CCT Working Group on Non-Contact Thermometry
• Member of MSA (Metrology Society of Australasia)
• Member of SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics)



• P Saunders, D R White, H Edgar, “A compact combinatorial device for measurement of non-linearity of radiation detectors”, International Journal of Thermophysics, 36, 290–302, 2015.
• P Saunders, “Analysis of the potential accuracy of thermodynamic measurement using the double-wavelength technique”, International Journal of Thermophysics, 35, 417–437, 2014.
• P Saunders, “Correcting radiation thermometry measurements for the size-of-source effect”, International Journal of Thermophysics, 32, 1633–1654, 2011.
• P Saunders, “Uncertainties in the realisation of thermodynamic temperature above the silver point”, International Journal of Thermophysics, 32, 26–44, 2011.
• P Saunders, “Calibration and use of low-temperature direct-reading radiation thermometers”, Measurement Science and Technology, 20, 025104, 2009.
• P Saunders, H Edgar, “On the characterisation and correction of the size-of-source effect in radiation thermometers”, Metrologia, 46, 62–74, 2009.
• P Saunders, D R White, “Propagation of uncertainty due to non-linearity in radiation thermometers”, International Journal of Thermophysics, 28, 2098–2110, 2007.
• P Saunders, D R White, “Physical basis of interpolation equations for radiation thermometry”, Metrologia, 40, 195–203, 2003.
• P Saunders, “Propagation of uncertainty for non-linear calibration equations with an application in radiation thermometry”, Metrologia, 40, 93–101, 2003.
• P Saunders, “Reflection errors in industrial radiation thermometry”, in Proceedings of TEMPMEKO ’99, Seventh International Symposium on Temperature and Thermal Measurements in Industry and Science, edited by J F Dubbeldam, M J de Groot, IMEKO/NMi Van Swinden Laboratorium, Delft, 631–636, 1999.