A diode laser sensor was developed for partial pressure and temperature measurements using a single water vapor transition. The Lorentzian half-width and line intensity of the transition were calibrated for conditions relevant to proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell operation. Comparison of measured and simulated harmonics from wavelength-modulation spectroscopy is shown to yield accuracy of in water vapor partial pressure and in temperature despite the use of a single transition over a narrow range of temperatures. Collisional half-widths in air or hydrogen are measured so that calibrations can be applied to both anode and cathode channels of a PEM fuel cell. An in situ calibration of the nonlinear impact of modulation on laser wavelength is presented and used to improve the accuracy of the numerical simulation of the signal.
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