Abstract

We study the accuracy and uncertainty of single-shot nonresonant laser-induced thermal acoustics measurements of the speed of sound and the thermal diffusivity in unseeded atmospheric air from electrostrictive gratings as a function of the laser power settings. For low pump energies, the measured speed of sound is too low, which is due to the influence of noise on the numerical data analysis scheme. For pump energies comparable to and higher than the breakdown energy of the gas, the measured speed of sound is too high. This is an effect of leaving the acoustic limit, and instead creating finite-amplitude density perturbations. The measured thermal diffusivity is too large for high noise levels but it decreases below the predicted value for high pump energies. The pump energy where the error is minimal coincides for the speed of sound and for the thermal diffusivity measurements. The errors at this minimum are 0.03% and 1%, respectively. The uncertainties for the speed of sound and the thermal diffusivity decrease monotonically with signal intensity to 0.25% and 5%, respectively.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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