A Doppler-limited high resolution vibronic spectrum of the methylene (CH2) b̃ 1B1←ã 1A1 transition in the near-infrared wavelength region has been obtained using transient absorption techniques. The radical was produced by 308 nm excimer laser photolysis of ketene (CH2CO) in a flow system. The analysis of this spectrum confirms the reassignments of some previously observed bands as well as the presence of new vibronic bands predicted by a recent ab initio calculation [Green et al., J. Chem. Phys. 94, 118 (1991)]. We also measured the Doppler broadened profiles of low-J rotational lines of CH2 under collisionless conditions. From the line profile analysis, we find that the 308 nm photolysis of ketene produces fragments with isotropic and uncorrelated velocity and angular momentum distributions. The Doppler profiles also provide a view of the coincident product state distributions. The measured Doppler profiles are consistent with a rotational distribution of CO produced in coincidence with low energy CH2 states given by statistical phase space theory. The vibrationally excited coincident CO appears, however, to be produced about 2-3 times more efficiently than is predicted by various statistical theories. A frequency modulation (FM) technique has been adopted to improve the sensitivity of the transient absorption experiment. There is a significant improvement in the observed signal to noise ratio of the CH2 spectrum over the dual beam method previously used.