Basic optical properties have been investigated in order to characterize the HCCI-combustion process. Basic optical properties of a Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engine have been investigated in order to characterize the combustion process.The absorption of light propagating through the combustion chamber has been spectrally resolved for four different fuels. Significant differences between the fuels could be detected. Complementary information could be obtained by recording spontaneous emission of radiation during combustion.Raman point measurements were used to quantify cycle-to-cycle variations of the equivalence ratio. The homogeneity of the charge was monitored by the use of two-dimensional tracer LIF. That method was also utilized to investigate the flame development.The experiments were performed in a six-cylinder, truck-sized engine with one cylinder modified to allow for optical access. The results obtained are believed to be valuable in future applications of optical diagnostics in similar environments.