Control of Early Flame Kernel Growth by Multi-Wavelength Laser Pulses for Enhanced Ignition.
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The present contribution examines the impact of plasma dynamics and plasma-driven fluid dynamics on the flame growth of laser ignited mixtures and shows that a new dual-pulse scheme can be used to control the kernel formation process in ways that extend the lean ignition limit. We perform a comparative study between (conventional) single-pulse laser ignition (=1064nm) and a novel dual-pulse method based on combining an ultraviolet (UV) pre-ionization pulse (=266nm) with an overlapped near-infrared (NIR) energy addition pulse (=1064nm). We employ OH* chemiluminescence to visualize the evolution of the early flame kernel. For single-pulse laser ignition at lean conditions, the flame kernel separates through third lobe detachment, corresponding to high strain rates that extinguish the flame. In this work, we investigate the capabilities of the dual-pulse to control the plasma-driven fluid dynamics by adjusting the axial offset of the two focal points. In particular, we find there exists a beam waist offset whereby the resulting vorticity suppresses formation of the third lobe, consequently reducing flame stretch. With this approach, we demonstrate that the dual-pulse method enables reduced flame speeds (at early times), an extended lean limit, increased combustion efficiency, and decreased laser energy requirements.