Optical measurement technique became more and more common for the last few years. Especially optical fibre technique is often used to detect flame propagation. With optical sensors the ignition process can be investigated with high temporal and spatial resolution. An in-cylinder optical sensor has been developed and tested to analyze the ignition of mixture and luminous emission of burning gas. The sensor consists of eight optical probes fitted in a conventional spark plug.The results show good correlation between measured luminosity and combustion parameters such as load, engine speed, ignition timing and air-fuel mixture ratio. A correlation between development of light intensity and pressure was found. For evaluation of light signals different analysis methods are presented.Furthermore it is shown that the luminosity of the flame can be used to control the combustion process. With the detected light signals it was possible to optimize ignition timing with respect to high engine performance.