"We monitor the photons that are transmitted and/or scattered out of the flames," he says. "Based on those, we can figure out what the flame temperature is, what chemical species are present and the velocity. All of these will help us paint a picture of what actually is happening in the flame and what it is made of."
The scientists plan to use such information to validate models that simulate chemical reactions that occur under turbulent conditions, he says. "Besides validating existing models, the data can also help people better visualize the physics and build more accurate models," he says. "Once we build the correct model, we can design and optimize our next generation energy devices on computers, speeding up the current trial-and-error process tremendously."