Laser and Optical Diagnostics

Why Laser and Optical Diagnostics? 

When conducting experiments in areas of aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, combustion or propulsion environments researchers need diagnostic tools that not only measure accurately, but also do not significantly modify the flow or combustion environment being measured.  Laser and optical diagnostic techniques allow the researcher the ability to measure flow and combustion properties such as velocity, pressure, density, temperature and species without altering the flow field.  Research into this field includes the development of new techniques, instrumentation, lasers, processing and sensors or applying these techniques to environments that have new and unique challenges to be addressed. 

What is going on in laser and optical diagnostics research at Illinois? 

The research being conducted at Illinois in laser and optical diagnostics utilizes state-of-the-art lasers, cameras and methods that are found at few other research facilities.  These include particle image velocimetry (PIV) from the micro-scale to large subsonic and supersonic wind tunnels, tomographic PIV techniques that obtain velocity measurements in a volume, and laser scattering techniques which utilize Rayleigh or Raman scattering from elements to determine flow and gas properties.  Aside from flow measurements, surface shear stress and pressure sensitive paint systems have been utilized and developed to obtain images of near wall properties.  For combustion and plasma environments spectroscopy based techniques allow measurements of species, temperature, and electron number densities.  A newly acquired femtosecond laser system allows researchers to obtain measurements of many of these properties at timescales which minimize molecular collisions that often deteriorate accurate property quantification.  A variety of federal organizations such as AFOSR, ARO, DOE and NASA have funded the development and use of these diagnostics techniques at the University of Illinois.

Who are the faculty members in the area? 

Associate Professor
Professor Emeritus
Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Courses in the Area

  • ME 404: Intermediate Thermodynamics 
  • ME 410: Intermediate Gas Dynamics 
  • AE 460: Aerodynamics & Propulsion Lab 
  • AE 510: Advanced Gas Dynamics   
  • TAM 537: Experimental Fluid Mechanics 
  • TAM 538: Turbulence   
  • AE 538/ME 501: Combustion Fundamentals  
  • AE 564: Advanced Aero Propulsion Lab   
  • AE 597: Independent Study    
  • AE 598: Special Topics

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