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Appl Opt. 2014 Mar 20;53(9):1938-46. doi: 10.1364/AO.53.001938.

Quantum cascade laser absorption sensor for carbon monoxide in high-pressure gases using wavelength modulation spectroscopy.


A tunable quantum cascade laser sensor, based on wavelength modulation absorption spectroscopy near 4.8 μm, was developed to measure CO concentration in harsh, high-pressure combustion gases. The sensor employs a normalized second harmonic detection technique (WMS-2f/1f) at a modulation frequency of 50 kHz. Wavelength selection at 2059.91  cm⁻¹ targets the P(20) transition within the fundamental vibrational band of CO, chosen for absorption strength and relative isolation from infrared water and carbon dioxide absorption. The CO spectral model is defined by the Voigt line-shape function, and key line-strength and line-broadening spectroscopic parameters were taken from the literature or measured. Sensitivity analysis identified the CO-N₂ collisional broadening coefficient as most critical for uncertainty mitigation in hydrocarbon/air combustion exhaust measurements, and this parameter was experimentally derived over a range of combustion temperatures (1100-2600 K) produced in a shock tube. Accuracy of the wavelength-modulation-spectroscopy-based sensor, using the refined spectral model, was validated at pressures greater than 40 atm in nonreactive shock-heated gas mixtures. The laser was then free-space coupled to an indium-fluoride single-mode fiber for remote light delivery. The fiber-coupled sensor was demonstrated on an ethylene/air pulse detonation combustor, providing time-resolved (~20  kHz), in situ measurements of CO concentration in a harsh flow field.


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