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The need for a subsurface imaging technique to locate and characterize subsurface defects in multidimensional micro- and nanoengineered devices has been growing rapidly. We show that a subsurface heater can be located accurately using the phase lag of a thermal wave. We deduce that the absolute phase lag is composed of four components. Among the four components, we isolate the component directly related to the position and the structure of the periodic heat source. We demonstrate that the position of the heater can be estimated accurately from the isolated phase lag component.