We demonstrate an approach for picosecond probe-beam generation that enables hybrid femtosecond/picosecond pure-rotational coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) measurements in flames. Sum-frequency generation of bandwidth-compressed picosecond radiation from femtosecond pumps with phase-conjugate chirps provides probe pulses with energies in excess of 1 mJ that are temporally locked to the femtosecond pump/Stokes preparation. This method overcomes previous limitations on hybrid femtosecond/picosecond rotational CARS techniques, which have relied upon less efficient bandwidth-reduction processes that have generally resulted in prohibitively low probe energy for flame measurements. We provide the details of the second-harmonic approach and demonstrate the technique in near-adiabatic hydrogen/air flames.
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