Abstract

Tunable excimer lasers are being used to produce species-, space-, and time-resolved images of complex gaseous media. These media may be analyzed for composition, density, temperature, or flow velocities. The techniques are, in general, highly selective, sensitive, and nonintrusive and are being made possible by recent technological developments in these UV lasers and in intensified cameras, imaging spectrographs, and fast digital image processing. We describe the needs for laser diagnostics in combustion, the physical mechanisms, the relevant spectroscopy, typical experimental setups, and equipment considerations. Precision and accuracy are discussed on the basis of some simple, but realistic, calculations intended to guide the experimentalist in design considerations and to reveal potential sources of errors in the often difficult conversion of raw data to values for such quantitative parameters as densities or temperatures. Finally we present an overview of previous results, select some examples that show the power of tunable excimer laser diagnostics in combustion, and present some suggestions for future directions.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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