banner for Chemical species tomographyWhy is this important?

There are many applications in which it is desirable to map the concentration of a gas species, e.g. the fuel-air distribution within a combustion chamber, the distribution of soot within a flame, or CO2 within the exhaust of a gas turbine. Measuring gas concentrations using probes is often impractical because the probe may perturb the concentration field, or the field may be physically-inaccessible. Moreover, physical probes offer very limited temporal and spatial resolution, which makes them unsuitable for turbulent flow fields. Chemical species tomography overcomes these drawbacks.

How does CST work?

In CST the concentration of a target species is tomographically-reconstructed from radiation intensity measurements made along the periphery of the flow field. This measurement exploits the fact that gas molecules absorb radiation at specific wavelengths, λ, or wavenumbers, η = 1/λ.

A laser is shone across the flow field. The ratio of incident and transmitted intensity is related to the distribution of the spectral absorption coefficient, κη along the corresponding line-of-sight (LOS) by the Beer-Lambert law

An equation on CST

where u is a parametric distance along the beam. In the case of an isothermal and isobaric flow, the spectral absorption coefficient is proportional to the target species concentration. Inferring κη(u) from a single LOS measurement is mathematically ill-posed.

Most often the domain is discretized into n pixels, in which case the intensity is modeled as

An equation on CST

where xi is the spectral absorption coefficient in the ith pixel, bi = ln(Iη,0/Iη,L,i) and Aij is the chord length of the ith beam subtended by the jth pixel.

Diagram of CST schematicWriting this equation for a set of m laser beams results in an (m X n) matrix equation, Ax = b, but the number of pixels far exceeds the number of beams. Consequently, this matrix is rank-deficient, and an infinite number of solutions {x} exist that could explain the measurement data. The smallest of these solutions, xLS, is nonphysical.

Images for beam arrangement

Example beam arrangement

beam arrangement

The smallest norm solution to Ax = b is nonphysical


Prior information

In order to solve this inverse problem, the measurement equations must be supplemented with prior information about the flow. This information could specify a certain degree of spatial smoothness, or a mean and spatial covariance derived from turbulent flow physics. Prior information and measurement data is combined using Bayesian inference.

Image of a Ch4 jet

Turbulent CH4 jet

An image of cst experiment

Ground truth

An image of CST experiment

Smoothness prior

An image of CST experiment

Turbulence theory


Optimal beam arrangement

How should the beams be arranged to maximize the information content of the data? This question can be answered using Bayesian design-of-experiment theory, in which the optimal beam arrangement minimizes an objective function that scales with the posterior covariance. This procedure accounts for the prior knowledge about the flowfield.

A diagram to demonstrate the beam optimization

Strong correlation between objective function and reconstruction error

A diagram to demonstrate the beam optimization

Optimized beam arrangement


A diagram to demonstrate the beam optimization

Ground-truth phantom

A diagram to demonstrate the beam optimization

Reconstruction with optimal beam array


Other tomography modalities

CST can be applied to other tomography modalities, including broadband absorption tomography, emission tomography, in which intensity measurements are used to reconstruct a light source (incandescence, chemiluminesence), hyperspectral absorption tomography (combined absorption and temperature, multiple species), and background-oriented Schlieren (BOS) tomography, which reconstructs the 3D time-resolved refractive index of the field. The refractive index is correlated to temperature.

Other tomography modalities

Other tomography modalities


Other tomography modalities

BOS tomography setup, Prof Khadijah Mohri, IVG, University of Duisburg-Essen

Other tomography modalities

Instantaneous 3D reconstruction of a methane flame


The contributors for this research