Anderson, Thomas Nathan (2003-05). The development and application of a diode-laser-based ultraviolet absorption sensor for nitric oxide. Master's Thesis.
This thesis describes the development of a new type of sensor for nitric oxide (NO) that can be used in a variety of combustion diagnostics and control applications. The sensor utilizes the absorption of ultraviolet (UV) radiation by the NO molecule to determine the concentration via optical absorption spectroscopy. UV radiation at 226.8 nm is generated by sum frequency mixing the outputs from a 395-nm external cavity diode laser (ECDL) and a 532-nm diode-pumped, intracavity frequency doubled Nd:YAG laser in a beta-barium borate (BBO) crystal. This radiation is used to probe the (v'=0, v"=0) band of the ?*?+ - ?*? electronic transition of NO. The ECDL is tuned so that the UV radiation is in resonance with a specific energy level transition, and it is then scanned across the transition to produce a fully resolved absorption spectrum. Preliminary experiments were performed in a room-temperature gas cell in the laboratory to determine the accuracy of the sensor. Results from these experiments indicated excellent agreement between theoretical and experimental absorption line shapes as well as NO concentrations. Further experiments were performed at two actual combustion facilities to demonstrate the operation of the sensors in realistic combustion environments. Tests on a gas turbine auxiliary power unit (APU) at Honeywell Engines and Systems and on a well-stirred reactor (WSR) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base produced excellent results despite the harsh temperatures and vibrations present. Overall, the sensitivity was estimated to be 0.8 parts per million (ppm) of NO (at 1000 K) for a 1 meter path length and the measurement uncertainty was estimated to be ?10%.