The principal investigator will develop a measurement technique to be used in combustion environments that are too harsh for traditional sensors. The goal is to achieve a laser light with multiple wavelengths that can simultaneously determine multiple property values (such as temperature and species concentrations) with high resolutions. The knowledge thus gained can be used for enhancing energy efficiency and pollution reduction. It also involves students in hands-on laboratory activities, and training graduate students for advanced research.
The research objective of this CAREER grant is to address the difficulties of in-situ, multi-species, multi-property measurements in combustion environments by establishing the first frequency comb (i.e., consisting of multiple peaks at discrete narrow-band frequencies) laser-based tools and techniques for combustion systems. The frequency comb is capable of broadband absorption sensing with unprecedented spectral resolution and speed. This project will overcome the remaining challenges to practical frequency comb-based sensing in combustion environments, namely reducing system complexity and improving signal-to-noise ratio. The project will demonstrate the technique for multi-species, multi-property (e.g. temperature, pressure, species concentration) measurements in a coal gasification reactor. The project will also enable mid-infrared frequency comb measurements in the C-H stretch spectral region of many hydrocarbons, with the simplicity of in-situ laser absorption spectroscopy as well as the multi-species capabilities of extractive gas chromatography or mass spectroscopy.