Modern high-efficiency engines utilize direct injection for charge preparation at extremely high pressures. At these conditions the scales of atomization become challenging to measure, as primary breakup occurs on the micrometer and nanosecond scales. As such, fuel sprays at these conditions have proven difficult to study via direct imaging. While high-speed cameras now exist that can shutter at tens to hundreds of nanoseconds, and long-range microscopes can be coupled to these cameras to provide high resolution images, the resolving power of these systems is typically limited by pixel size and field of view. The large pixel sizes make the realization of the diffraction-limited optical resolution quite challenging. On the other hand, limited data throughput under high repetition rate operation limits the field of view (FOV) due to reduced sensor area. Therefore, a novel measurement technique is critical to study fuel spray formation at engine-relevant conditions.

In this work, we demonstrate a new high-resolution imaging technique, Spectral Microscopy, which aims to realize diffraction-limited imaging at effective framerates sufficient for capturing primary breakup in engine-relevant sprays. A spectral microscopy system utilizing a consumer-grade DSLR allows for significantly wider FOV with improved resolving power compared to high-speed cameras. Temporal shuttering is accomplished via separate and independently triggered back illumination sources, with wavelengths selected to overlap with the detection bands of the camera sensor’s RGB filter array. The RGB detection channels act as filters to capture independently timed red, green, and blue light pulses, enabling the capture of a three consecutive images at effective framerates exceeding 20 Million fps. To optimize system performance, a backlit illumination system is designed to maximize light throughput, a multi-lens setup is created, and an image processing algorithm is demonstrated that formulates a three-frame image from the camera sensor. The system capabilities are then demonstrated by imaging engine relevant diesel sprays. The spectral microscopy system detailed in this paper allows for micron-scale feature recognition at framerates exceeding 20 Million fps, thus expanding the capability for experimental research on primary breakup in fuel sprays for modern direct-injection engines.

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