What is Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)?

What is Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)?

The LIBS technique is simple, straightforward, and powerful! Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is a simple spark spectrochemical technique that has broad capability for chemical analysis.

In order to do LIBS one generally needs:

  • Short pulse (20 nsec or faster) laser with a minimum of 10 mJ per pulse,
  • Optics for laser light delivery/focusing,
  • Optics for capturing the light emitted from the spark, and
  • Spectrometer/detector to separate the light from different elements and ions for chemical identification.

Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is a simple, inexpensive analytical technique to determine the elemental composition of a sample, regardless of whether the sample is a solid, liquid or gas. The beauty of LIBS is its sensitivity to all elements, with typical limits of detection between 0.1-200 parts per million (depending on the sample and the element of interest). No sample preparation is needed making it quick and easily adaptable to automated chemical monitoring equipment or portable units.

The technique can be used in a variety of more complex analyses such as determination of alloy composition, origin of manufacture (by monitoring trace components), and molecular analysis (unknown identification). There is also the option of using LIBS as a stand-off analytical technique for corrosive or hazardous environments (such as space and nuclear reactors) preventing risk to the operator as well as for military use in man-portable or robotics applications.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2010