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1 October 2007 Laser cleaning of optical windows in internal combustion engines
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Optical access to combustion chambers via windows is desirable for combustion diagnostics as well as for laser ignition. By nature, combustion deposits can form on the inner surface of the light-transmitting window, leading to malfunction. We investigated whether a Nd:YAG ignition laser could cope with combustion-chamber deposits by means of ablation. In a 1.8-kW four-stroke internal combustion engine an optical window was installed to couple in the laser light. Ignition was carried out by a spark plug. Due to inherent high fuel and oil consumption, a deposit layer would form on the substrate within some tens of minutes. Elementary analysis showed carbonaceous as well as inorganic compounds gradually reducing light transmission. With cyclic 5-ns laser shots through the window, the pass-through stayed essentially free of deposits provided the energy fluence was around 10 mJ/mm2. Microanalysis showed evidence of the soundness of the principle. In addition, even single shots with a higher flux were enough to remove a relatively thick layer of deposits at once. Thus an optical window in an internal combustion engine can in principle be kept transmissive by the action of a compact solid-state laser.
©(2007) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Helmut Ranner, Pratush Kumar Tewari, Heinrich Kofler, M. Lackner, Ernst Wintner, Avinash Kumar Agarwal, and F. Winter "Laser cleaning of optical windows in internal combustion engines," Optical Engineering 46(10), 104301 (1 October 2007).
Published: 1 October 2007

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