Engineering Quad: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


The laser diagnostics laboratory for Advanced Energy and Propulsion Research at the University of Illinois is led by Professor Tonghun Lee and dedicated to applying advanced laser and optical diagnostics to investigate the physics of new and advanced propulsion systems, energetically enhanced combustion, novel energy conversion systems, and thermal oxidation of alternative and renewable fuels. Our objectives are (1) to investigate technical concepts for new and advanced propulsion systems based on innovative technology and (2) to provide solutions for a new energy infrastructure based on alternative and sustainable energy sources.

The laboratory is led by Professor Tonghun Lee in the Department of Mechanical Science & Engineering and we work closely with national laboratories, academic institutions, and industry. Our collaborative efforts with federal agencies include:

Army Research Laboratory Integral part of ARL Central where we support the development of small scale propulsion systems for next generation UAVs, chemical kinetics of Army relevant fuels, and spray imaging with Argonne National Laboratory in the Advanced Photon Source.

Air Force Research Laboratory Collaborative efforts to develop laser diagnostics methods for hypersonic propulsion systems. In particular, we have established many new high speed diagnostics techniques which have been demonstrated in the Research Cell-19 (RC-19) supersonic wind tunnel at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

Federal Aviation Administration We have been part of the FAA Center of Excellence ASCENT and the National Jet Fuel Combustion Program within the Center. In this capacity we have been involved in a number of next generation fuel testing efforts and have been tasked with establishing the ‘Alternative Jet Fuel Test Database‘ at the University of Illinois.


We are grateful to the following agencies for providing us with research support over the past decade.

  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research
  • Office of Naval Research
  • Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Army Research Laboratory
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Energy ARPA-E
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Defense Logistics Agency
  • National Institute of Standards & Technology
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • National Science Foundation
  • Industry: DENSO, TOYOTA, MAHLE (North America)