Laser-Induced Fluorescence

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As demonstrated in the video above, lasers can be used to excite molecules into a higher energy state, which will decay via the emission of photons, causing the medium to glow. This laser-induced fluorescence is utilized in several techniques for measurements in fluid dynamics, including planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) and molecular tagging velocimetry (MTV). In these techniques a flow is usually seeded with a fluorescing material–nitric oxide is popular for super- and hypersonic flows–and then lasers are used to excite a slice of the flow field. The resulting fluorescence can be used for both qualitative and quantitative flow measurements. Here are a couple of examples, one in low-Reynolds number flow and one in combustion. (Video credit: L. Martin et al./UC Berkeley)

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