A sensor for combustion thermometry based on blue diode lasers.
Spatially-resolved measurements of flame temperature have been demonstrated with diode lasers for the first time. The technique is based on the use of blue diode lasers to perform laser-induced fluorescence on indium atoms seeded to the flame. Temperature measurements have been carried out in laminar flames both by the two-line atomic fluorescence technique, and also by a novel line-shape thermometry method that requires the use of only a single diode laser. The first part of this work involved the development of blue extended cavity diode lasers with favourable tuning properties. Two custom-designed extended cavity diode lasers (ECDL) have been built, emitting at wavelengths of around 410 nm and 451 nm respectively. These devices are capable of mode-hop free tuning over ranges greater than 90 GHz. The performance of these devices exceeds that of commercially available systems and a patent application has been filed. High resolution fluorescence spectroscopy has been performed on both the 52P1/2→62S1/2 and 52P3/2→62S1/2 transitions of indium atoms seeded at trace quantities into atmospheric pressure flames. In both cases, the spectra obtained show excellent agreement with a theoretical fit based on the individual hyperfine components of the transition. The two ECDLs have been used to build a sensor for the measurement of temperature in combustion systems. It is much simpler, more compact, less expensive, and more versatile than any previously existing device. The two lasers were used sequentially to probe indium atoms seeded to the flame. The ratio of the resulting fluorescence signals is related to the relative populations in the two sub-levels of the spin-orbit split ground state of indium, and thus to the temperature. Temperature measurements have been successfully performed in a laminar flame and the data thus obtained do not need to be corrected by any ‘calibration constant’. This novel thermometry technique offers a robust alternative to traditional methods involving bulky high power lasers. A further development has been made by demonstrating a fluorescence line-shape thermometry technique requiring only a single diode laser excitation source. Progress has been made towards the goal of rapid temperature measurements appropriate to the study of turbulent flames. This involved the development of a simple technique for actively locking the wavelength of the blue diode laser to a resonance line of the tellurium molecule. A high-speed thermometry system would work by rapidly switching between the two locked laser beams using an optical modulator.