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Opt Express. 2002 Jun 17;10(12):505-14.

Wavelength-agile diode-laser sensing strategies for monitoring gas properties in optically harsh flows: application in cesium-seeded pulse detonation.


The rapid, broad wavelength scanning capabilities of advanced diode lasers allow extension of traditional diode-laser absorption techniques to high pressure, transient, and generally hostile environments. Here, we demonstrate this extension by applying a vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) to monitor gas temperature and pressure in a pulse detonation engine (PDE). Using aggressive injection current modulation, the VCSEL is scanned through a 10 cm-1 spectral window at megahertz rates - roughly 10 times the scanning range and 1000 times the scanning rate of a conventional diode laser. The VCSEL probes absorption lineshapes of the ~ 852 nm D2 transition of atomic Cs, seeded at ~ 5 ppm into the feedstock gases of a PDE. Using these lineshapes, detonated-gas temperature and pressure histories, spanning 2000 - 4000 K and 0.5 - 30 atm, respectively, are recorded with microsecond time response. The increasing availability of wavelength-agile diode lasers should support the development of similar sensors for other harsh flows, using other absorbers such as native H2O.


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