Applications of a Mid-IR Quantum Cascade Laser in Gas Sensing Research
AuthorsSajid, Muhammad Bilal
KAUST DepartmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
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AbstractLaser absorption based sensors are extensively used in a variety of gas sensing areas such as combustion, atmospheric research, human breath analysis, and high resolution infrared spectroscopy. Quantum cascade lasers have recently emerged as high resolution, high power laser sources operating in mid infrared region and can have wide tunability range. These devices provide an opportunity to access stronger fundamental and combination vibrational bands located in mid infrared region than previously accessible weaker overtone vibrational bands located in near infrared region. Spectroscopic region near 8 µm contains strong vibrational bands of methane, acetylene, hydrogen peroxide, water vapor and nitrous oxide. These molecules have important applications in a wide range of applications. This thesis presents studies pertaining to spectroscopy and combustion applications. Advancements in combustion research are imperative to achieve lower emissions and higher efficiency in practical combustion devices such as gas turbines and engines. Accurate chemical kinetic models are critical to achieve predictive models which contain several thousand reactions and hundreds of species. These models need highly reliable experimental data for validation and improvements. Shock tubes are ideal devices to obtain such information. A shock tube is a homogenous, nearly constant volume, constant pressure, adiabatic and 0-D reactor. In combination with laser absorption sensors, shock tubes can be used to measure reaction rates and species time histories of several intermediates and products formed during pyrolysis and oxidation of fuels. This work describes measurement of the decomposition rate of hydrogen peroxide which is an important intermediate species controlling reactivity of combustion system in the intermediate temperature range. Spectroscopic parameters (linestrengths, broadening coefficients and temperature dependent coefficients) are determined for various transitions of acetylene. Furthermore, methane and acetylene sensors are developed for shock tube applications. The application of these sensors (along with an ethylene sensor) has been demonstrated to measure these species during the pyrolysis of n-pentane and iso-pentane.