Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Characterization of nanosecond, femtosecond and dual pulse laser energy deposition in air for flow control and diagnostic applications
by Limbach, Christopher M., Ph.D., Princeton University, 2015, 280; 3737448
Abstract (Summary)

The non-resonant heating of gases by laser irradiation and plasma formation has been under investigation since the development of 100 megawatt peak power, Q-switched, nanosecond pulse duration lasers and the commensurate discovery of laser air sparks. More recently, advances in mode-locking and chirped pulse amplification have led to commercially available 100 gigawatt peak power, femtosecond pulse duration lasers with a rapidly increasing number of applications including remote sensing, laser spectroscopy, aerodynamic flow control, and molecular tagging velocimetry and thermometry diagnostics. This work investigates local energy deposition and gas heating produced by focused, non-resonant, nanosecond and femtosecond laser pulses in the context of flow control and laser diagnostic applications.

Three types of pulse configurations were examined: single nanosecond pulses, single femtosecond pulses and a dual pulse approach whereby a femtosecond pre-ionizing pulse is followed by a nanosecond pulse. For each pulse configuration, optical and laser diagnostic techniques were applied in order to qualitatively and quantitatively measure the plasmadynamic and hydrodynamic processes accompanying laser energy deposition. Time resolved imaging of optical emission from the plasma and excited species was used to qualitatively examine the morphology and decay of the excited gas. Additionally, Thomson scattering and Rayleigh scattering diagnostics were applied towards measurements of electron temperature, electron density, gas temperature and gas density.

Gas heating by nanosecond and dual pulse laser plasmas was found to be considerably more intense than femtosecond plasmas, irrespective of pressure, while the dual pulse approach provided substantially more controllability than nanosecond pulses alone. In comparison, measurements of femtosecond laser heating showed a strong and nonlinearly dependence on focusing strength. With comparable pulse energy, measurements of maximum temperature rise ranged from 50K to 2000K for 500mm and 175mm focal length lenses, respectively. Experiments with various lens and pulse energy combinations indicated an important connection between gas heating and the phenomena of intensity clamping and self-guiding. The long-term behavior of the heated region varied considerably among pulse configurations. However, in each case, the formation of a toroidal vortex could be suppressed or enhanced depending on the variables of pressure, focusing and pulse energy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Miles, Richard B.
Commitee: Martinelli, Luigi, Smits, Alexander
School: Princeton University
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-B 77/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Aerospace engineering, Optics, Plasma physics
Keywords: Compressible flow, Femtosecond, Gas heating, Heat release, Laser plasma, Shock wave
Publication Number: 3737448
ISBN: 978-1-339-26781-4
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