Mid-IR Absorption Cross-Section Measurements of Hydrocarbons

  • Majed Abdullah Alrefae

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Laser diagnostics are fast-response, non-intrusive and species-specific tools perfectly applicable for studying combustion processes. Quantitative measurements of species concentration and temperature require spectroscopic data to be well-known at combustion-relevant conditions. Absorption cross-section is an important spectroscopic quantity and has direct relation to the species concentration. In this work, the absorption cross-sections of basic hydrocarbons are measured using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, tunable Difference Frequency Generation laser and fixed wavelength helium-neon laser. The studied species are methane, methanol, acetylene, ethylene, ethane, ethanol, propylene, propane, 1-butene, n-butane, n-pentane, n-hexane, and n-heptane. The Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer is used for the measurements of the absorption cross-sections and the integrated band intensities of the 13 hydrocarbons. The spectral region of the spectra is 2800 – 3400 cm-1 (2.9 – 3.6 μm) and the temperature range is 673 – 1100 K. These valuable data provide huge opportunities to select interference-free wavelengths for measuring time-histories of a specific species in a shock tube or other combustion systems. Such measurements can allow developing/improving chemical kinetics mechanisms by experimentally determining reaction rates. The Difference Frequency Generation (DFG) laser is a narrow line-width, tunable laser in the 3.35 – 3.53 μm wavelength region which contains strong absorption features for most hydrocarbons due to the fundamental C-H vibrating stretch. The absorption cross-sections of propylene are measured at seven different wavelengths using the DFG laser. The temperature range is 296 – 460 K which is reached using a Reflex Cell. The DFG laser is very attractive for kinetic studies in the shock tube because of its fast time response and the potential possibility of making species-specific measurements. The Fixed wavelength helium-neon (HeNe) laser at 3.39 μm is used to measure the absorption cross-section of the fuels mentioned above. The dependence on temperature, pressure and bath gas (helium, argon and nitrogen) is also examined. The temperature and pressure ranges of this study are 296 – 800 K and 250 – 1000 Torr, respectively. These are the first measured cross-sections at HeNe laser wavelength that are applicable at combustion-relevant conditions.
Date of AwardMay 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Science and Engineering
SupervisorAamir Farooq (Supervisor)


  • Absorption Cross-Section
  • FIIR Spectrometer
  • HeNe Laser
  • DFG Laser
  • Mid-IR Spectra
  • Hydrocarbons

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