The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Development of Laser-Induced Fluorescence for Precombustion Diagnostics in Spark-Ignition Engines


  • Hans Neij

Summary, in English

Motivated by a desire to understand and optimize combustion in spark-ignition (SI) engines, laser techniques have been developed for measurement of fuel and residual gas, respectively, in the precombustion mixture of an operating SI engine. The primary objective was to obtain two-dimensional, quantitative data in the vicinity of the spark gap at the time of ignition.

A laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) technique was developed for fuel visualization in engine environments. Since the fluorescence signal from any commercial gasoline fuel would be unknown to its origin, with an unpredictable dependence on collisional partners, pressure and temperature, a non-fluorescent base fuel - isooctane - was used. For LIF detection, a fluorescent species was added to the fuel. An additive not commonly used in this context - 3-pentanone - was chosen based on its suitable vaporization characteristics and fluorescent properties. The LIF technique was applied to an optically accessible research engine. By calibration, the fluorescence signal from the additive was converted to fuel-to-air equivalence ratio. The accuracy and precision of the acquired data were assessed. A statistical evaluation revealed that the spatially averaged equivalence ratio around the spark plug had a significant impact on the combustion event. The strong correlation between these two quantities suggested that the early combustion was sensitive to large-scale inhomogeneities in the precombustion mixture.

A similar LIF technique, using acetone as a fluorescent additive in methane, was applied to a combustion cell for ion current evaluation. The local equivalence ratio around the spark gap at the time of ignition was extracted from LIF data. Useful relations were identified between different ion current parameters and the local equivalence ratio, although the impact of the flow field, the fuel type, and the electrode geometry were identified as areas for future research.

A novel fuel - dimethyl ether (DME) - was investigated with respect to optical properties relevant to laser-based combustion diagnostics, by flame emission, optical absorption, laser-induced fluorescence, spontaneous Raman scattering, and rotational CARS.

The potential for LIF detection of water vapor in combustion processes was evaluated. Water molecules were excited in a two-photon process at 248 nm yielding fluorescence around 400-500 nm. Spectrally interfering species at flame conditions were identified as hot O2, and laser-generated C2 and N2+. The detection limit for two-dimensional single-shot detection of water vapor at atmospheric conditions was estimated to 0.2%. Extrapolations to flame conditions were presented. A pressure-dependent process was identified, which decreased the signal intensity, broadened the linewidths, and degraded the spectral-excitation feature as the ambient pressure was increased. Two-photon water vapor LIF was applied to a research engine for residual gas visualization. The accuracy and precision of both two-dimensional and spatially averaged data were discussed. The LIF data was used to explain the engine behavior on a cycle-by-cycle basis. A significant correlation was identified between the combustion event and the spatially averaged water signal around the spark gap at the time of ignition.


Publishing year




Document type



Combustion Physics, Lund Institute of Technology


  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics


  • DME
  • fuel tracer
  • Laser-induced fluorescence
  • 3-pentanone
  • acetone
  • residual gas
  • dimethyl ether
  • water vapor
  • Fysicumarkivet A:1998:Neij
  • Fysik
  • Physics
  • ion current




  • [unknown] [unknown]


  • ISBN: 91-628-3083-X
  • ISRN: LUTFD2/TFCP - - 41 - - SE

Defence date

4 November 1998

Defence time


Defence place

Department of Physics, Room B


  • Thierry Baritaud