Water vapor in hydrogen flames measured by time-resolved collisional dephasing of the pure-rotational N2 CARS signal

Leonardo Castellanos, Francesco Mazza, Alexis Bohlin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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We present a novel diagnostic technique to probe water vapor (H2O) concentration in hydrogen (H2) combustion environments via the time-resolved measurement of the collisional dephasing of the pure-rotational coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) signal of nitrogen (N2). The rotational Raman coherence of the N2 molecules, induced by the interaction with the pump and Stokes laser fields, dephases on a timescale of hundreds of picoseconds (ps), mostly due to inelastic collisions with other molecules in atmospheric flames. In the spatial region of H2 flames where H2O is present in appreciable amount, it introduces a faster dephasing of the N2 coherence than the other major combustion species do: we use time-resolved femtosecond/picosecond (fs/ps) CARS to deduce the H2O mole fraction from the dephasing effect of its inelastic collisions with N2. The proof-of-principle is demonstrated in a laminar H2/air diffusion flame, performing sequential measurements of the collisional dephasing of the N2 CARS signal up to 360 ps. We measure the temperature and the relative O2/N2 and H2/N2 concentrations at a short probe delay, and input the results in the time-domain model to extract the H2O mole fraction from the signal decay, thus measuring the whole scalar flow fields across the flame front. We furthermore present single-shot simultaneous thermometry and absolute concentration measurements in the turbulent TU Darmstadt/DLR Stuttgart canonical 'H3 flame' performed by dual-probe CARS measurements obtained with a polarization separation approach. This allows us to probe the molecular coherence simultaneously at -20 and -250 ps on the basis of a single-laser-shot, and record the resulting signals in two distinct detection channels of our unique polarization-sensitive coherent imaging spectrometer. The proposed technique allows for measuring the absolute concentrations of all the major species of H2 flames, thus providing a full characterization of the flow composition, as well as of the temperature field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1279-1287
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Absolute species concentration measurements
  • Fs/ps CARS thermometry
  • Hydrogen combustion
  • Time-resolved spectroscopy
  • Water vapor detection


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