A holographic particle image velocimetry (HPIV) system is employed to study the evolution of coherent structures artificially generated in a plane Poiseuille air flow. As a first step the hot-wire technique and two-dimensional flow visualization are used to determine the generation conditions and dimensions of the coherent structures, their shedding frequency, trajectory, and convection velocity. Then, the HPIV method is utilized to obtain the instantaneous topology of the hairpin vortex and its associated three-dimensional distribution of the two (streamwise and spanwise) velocity components as well as the corresponding wall-normal vorticity. Finally, the experimental data are compared with results of related experimental and numerical studies. The present experimental results support the view that the generation of hairpins under various base flow conditions is governed by a basic mechanism, the important common elements of which are the shear of the base flow and an initial disturbance having a sufficiently large amplitude.

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