The ability to rapidly heat samples using infrared laser radiation without the complicating effects of hot surfaces offers new opportunities for pyrolysis techniques in materials characterization and process control. By using pulsed radiation, timescales on the order of microseconds are achieved, restricting the chemistry primarily to initial reactions. The homogeneous nature of laser powered heating minimizes wall reactions and improves reproducibility by eliminating effects of surface contamination in the pyrolysis reactor. In Laser Powered Homogeneous Pyrolysis (LPHP), a pulsed CO2 laser (10μm) is used to rapidly heat a gas mixture to be pyrolyzed. If the mixture does not absorb 10um radiation, a chemically inert sensitizer such as SF6 or SiF4 must be added to couple energy into the mixture. Temperatures up to 1200K can be reached, with reaction times ranging from lOpsec to lOmsec. Product analysis is by gas chromatography after a sufficient number of laser pulses to generate detectable amounts of products. Applications of LPHP to hydrocarbon mixture analysis will be presented, as well as potential applications to process control. The short reaction times in LPHP will be illustrated by methane and ethane pyrolysis, which also provide information on the details of the temperature profile during laser powered pyrolysis.
R L. Woodin,
K A Kajkowski,
"Analytical Applications Of Laser Powered Pyrolysis", Proc. SPIE 0458, Applications of Lasers to Industrial Chemistry, (31 May 1984); doi: 10.1117/12.939408; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.939408