An infrared laser absorption technique has been developed to measure in-cylinder concentrations of CO in an optical, automotive HCCI engine. The diagnostic employs a distributed-feedback, tunable diode laser selected to emit light at the R15 line of the first overtone of CO near 2.3 μm. The collimated laser beam makes multiple passes through the cylinder to increase its path length and its sampling volume. High-frequency modulation of the laser output (wavelength modulation spectroscopy) further enhances the signal-to-noise ratio and detection limits of CO. The diagnostic has been tested in the motored and fired engine, exhibiting better than 200-ppm sensitivity for 50-cycle ensemble-average values of CO concentration with 1-ms time resolution. Fired results demonstrate the ability of the diagnostic to quantify CO production during negative valve overlap (NVO) for a range of fueling conditions.