A rugged, mid-infrared (IR) CO laser absorption diagnostic has been developed to monitor the amount of CO produced by a high-pressure CH4-O2 combustor test rig operating at supercritical CO2 conditions (30 MPa and 1150°C). The laser system operates at the fundamental absorption band, ν″ = 0, R(12), of CO near 4.5 μm. The mid-IR diagnostic was constructed from a tunable quantum cascade laser (QCL), an absorption cell with two window ports for monitoring CO exhaust concentration, and two IR photodetectors. Temperature and pressure sensors were mounted near the absorption cell to monitor exhaust flow conditions, and the operational wavelength of the laser was determined by a calibration process using a known mixture of CO and N2. Environmental conditions at the remote outdoor test facility posed significant difficulties in the data acquisition process for the IR diagnostic. Fluctuating environmental temperatures proved to be problematic when operating cryogenic photodetectors and stabilizing a QCL designed to operate with an internal temperature of −15°C. Improvements to the IR system included elimination of problematic stagnation regions via a new absorption cell design and an increase in the CO detection limit. During steady state conditions, the mid-IR diagnostic measured the CO concentration to within ± 80.6 ppm. The IR diagnostic was shown to have superior CO detection response time and the ability to resolve features not detected by other CO detector counterparts.

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