The use of laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) from acetone is becoming increasingly widespread as a diagnostic of mixing processes in both reacting and nonreacting flows. One of the major reasons for its increasing use is that the acetone LIF signal is believed to be nearly independent of pressure because of fast intersystem crossing from the first excited singlet state, from which the fluorescence signal originates, to the first excited triplet state, which does not fluoresce. To evaluate the use of acetone LIF at pressures higher than atmospheric, we have performed a study of acetone LIF in a flowing gas cell at pressures up to 8 atm. We used four different buffer gases: air, nitrogen, methane, and helium. Surprisingly, we find that the acetone fluorescence quantum efficiency increases slightly (∼30%–50%) as the buffer-gas pressure increases from 0.6 to 5 atm for all four buffer gases. When the buffer gas is air, we observe a decrease in the acetone fluorescence quantum efficiency as the buffer-gas pressure is increased from 5 to 8 atm; for the other three buffer gases the quantum efficiency is constant to within experimental error in this pressure regime. The observed pressure dependence of the acetone fluorescence signal is explained by use of a four-level model. The increase in the fluorescence quantum efficiency with pressure is probably the result of incomplete vibrational relaxation coupled with an increase in the intersystem crossing rate with increasing vibrational excitation in the first excited singlet manifold.
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