A greener future with laser beams

With the development of a new ultrafast laser-based instrument, Alexis Bohlin, researcher in Space Systems from one of the partner Universities of UNIVERSEH alliance, Luleå University of Technology among with colleagues in the Netherlands have taken a step closer towards greener space travel. This advance in diagnostics capacity, which will be applied in new experiments, could very well contribute to more environmentally friendly aerospace engines.

The new ultrafast laser diagnostic instrument can collect precise information about temperature and concentration of oxygen, fuel and water vapor in hydrogen-based flames. One could, in simple terms, describe it as a highly advanced thermometer which collect exact data about the weather, if the weather was a hydrogen-based flame burning up to about 2100 degree Celsius.

This precise data could be used to advance the research of greener fuels which could then be used in even more environmentally friendly propulsion engines. Hydrogen-rich fuel, when made from renewable resources, could have a huge impact on reducing emissions. This would be a significant contribution towards alleviating the man-made climate changes.

A challenge and a solution

Developing reliable and cheap engines for rockets is challenging but also of high interest for the spacecraft industry as more regular rocket launches are expected to take place in the future. Due to more frequent launches the spacecraft industry is looking for sustainable ways in which to lower the effect they have on the environment and climate. One solution is the use of hydrogen-based fuels.

— The use of hydrogen-based fuels is one viable strategy to stop the climate change. It is most famously used as a green rocket-fuel for reusable spacecrafts. To advance the applicability of hydrogen rich fuels even further, potentially making them even greener one must conduct a substantial amount of research to reach a deeper understanding of its critical mechanisms. With our newly developed laser-based instrument we can perform exactly that, Alexis Bohlin concludes.

Paper: F. Mazza, A. Stutvoet, L. Castellanos, D. Kliukin, A. Bohlin, “Coherent Raman spectroscopy on hydrogen with in-situ generation, in-situ use, and in-situ referencing of the ultrabroadband excitation,” Opt. Express, 30, 20, 35232-35245 (2022).