A theoretical and experimental study taking sample-fluid heat coupling into account in time-resolved photothermal mirror experiments is presented. Thermoelastic equations were solved to obtain a semi-analytical solution to the phase shift induced by the sample and the surrounding fluid. The solution was used to model the thermal mirror effects and found to be in excellent agreement with the finite element method analysis and experiment. Heat transferred to the air-coupling fluid did not introduce important effects in the phase shift when compared with the solution obtained, without considering heat flux. However, when using water as the fluid, heat coupling led to a significant effect in fluid phase shift. Experimental results using stainless steel in air and water were used to demonstrate the potentiality of the thermal mirror technique to determine the thermal properties of both the sample and the fluid.

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