Abstract

We present an experimental technique that allows the simultaneous spatial imaging and spectral analysis of falling droplets that exhibit lasing. Single droplet investigations serve as, among other purposes, a preliminary study for spray and combustion researchers. The described setup provides a valuable tool for the evaluation of microdroplet investigations with laser-spectroscopic techniques that rely on laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) or similar spectroscopical phenomena. The emphasis is that both spatial and spectral information are obtained from single-shot images of a falling droplet. Furthermore, combining spatial imaging and a spatially resolving optical multichannel analyzer makes a pointwise rastering of the droplets spectrum possible. This allows for the (almost) unambiguous determination of sources of influence on the spectrum of these droplets—such as geometrical distortion and lasing, nondissolved tracer lumps, and similar phenomena. Although the focus is on the experimental technique itself, we supplement detailed studies of lasing in falling microdroplets. These results were obtained with the aim of developing a system for measuring temperature distributions in droplets and sprays. In the light of these results the practice of calibrating a droplets spectrum by use of a bulk liquid sample needs to be critically reviewed.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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