Gasdynamic laser operation for combustion products

Vibrational nonequilibrium in nozzle flow

Gasdynamic lasers create optical gain from the rapid expansion of gas through a nozzle.  This can produce very high peak laser powers, and makes such lasers potentially useful in a range of applications.  The efficiency of the laser is determined by the ability to create and maintain a nonequilibrium distribution of vibrational energy within such a nozzle.  One effective way of driving the expanding flow is by providing elevated energy with combustion, however, some product species such as water vapour can impair the effectiveness of the rapid flow expansion in creating a population inversion.  This project combines conversion of a nozzle flow facility to a gasdynamic laser, making measurements of the degree of population inversion using advanced laser diagnostics, and comparing those measurements against computational models of the laser operation.

Associate Professor Sean O'Byrne