Maintaining low NOx emissions over the operating range of diesel engines continues to be a major issue. However, optical measurements of nitric oxide (NO) are lacking particularly in the core of diesel jets, i.e. in the region of premixed combustion close to the spray axis. This is basically caused by severe attenuation of both the laser light and fluorescent emission in laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) applications. Light extinction is reduced by keeping absorption path lengths relatively short in this work, by investigating diesel jets in a combustion vessel instead of an engine. Furthermore, the NO-detection threshold is improved by conducting 1-d line measurements instead of 2-d imaging. The NO-LIF data are corrected for light attenuation by combined LIF and spontaneous Raman scattering. The quantified maximum light attenuation is significantly lower than in comparable previous works, and its wavelength dependence is surprisingly weak.Thereby, NO is reliably detected in the jet core. It can be attributed to premixed combustion.