Optical ray tracing method for simulating beam-steering effects during laser diagnostics in turbulent media. Academic Article uri icon


  • In most coherent spectroscopic methods used in gas-phase laser diagnostics, multiple laser beams are focused and crossed at a specific location in space to form the probe region. The desired signal is then generated as a result of nonlinear interactions between the beams in this overlapped region. When such diagnostic schemes are implemented in practical devices having turbulent reacting flow fields with refractive index gradients, the resulting beam steering can give rise to large measurement uncertainties. The objective of this work is to simulate beam-steering effects arising from pressure and temperature gradients in gas-phase media using an optical ray tracing approach. The ZEMAX OpticStudio software package is used to simulate the beam crossing and uncrossing effects in the presence of pressure and temperature gradients, specifically the conditions present in high-pressure, high-temperature combustion devices such as gas turbine engines. Specific cases involving two-beam and three-beam crossing configurations are simulated. The model formulation, the effects of pressure and temperature gradients, and the resulting beam-steering effects are analyzed. The results show that thermal gradients in the range of 300-3000 K have minimal effects, while pressure gradients in the range of 1-50 atm result in pronounced beam steering and the resulting signal fluctuations in the geometries investigated. However, with increasing pressures, the temperature gradients can also have a pronounced effect on the resultant signal levels.

published proceedings

  • Appl Opt

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, Y., & Kulatilaka, W. D.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Yejun||Kulatilaka, Waruna D

publication date

  • April 2017