The paper presents frequency modulated thermal wave imaging (FMTWI) as a fast and efficient non-contact technique for in-plane thermal characterization of thin plate nanomaterials. A novel excitation signal in the form of an up-chirp is applied and the thermal response is monitored using an infrared (IR) thermography based temperature sensing system. The in-plane thermal diffusivity of any sample can be measured using the multiple phase information extracted from a single run of the experiment. This feature provides a time efficient approach for thermal measurements using infrared thermography techniques. The theoretical background and experimental details of the technique are discussed, with practical measurement of thermal diffusivity of an empty anodic alumina (AAO) template in direction perpendicular to the nanochannel axis, in support. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.