5 STEPS TO BUILD A HIGH-PERFORMANCE SCIENTIFIC LIBS SETUPBrief introduction to the world of LIBS systems
The list of the fundamental LIBS setup parts would not be complete without a number of optical and optomechanical components. They are necessary for guiding and focusing of the laser beam, for collection of plasma radiation and it’s guiding to the spectrometer input, for adjusting the system and for mounting all the parts of the setup to the solid basement. Their selection is derived from the setup configuration with the emphasis on the minimal optical losses, sufficient adjustment capability, functional versatility and also an operation safety. There are many producers of the laboratory equipment, each of them offer a wide selection of various optomechanical accessories with mutual compatibility.
In addition to the above listed fundamental LIBS components it is convenient to add number of auxiliary components to the LIBS setup.
Digital oscilloscope is the invaluable tool that helps to troubleshoot system timing problems. Together with the photodetector it can record and image temporal evolution of very fast processes. This tandem equipped with the dielectric filters or coupled to a monochromator (with the photomultiplier at the best), temporal evolution of a particular line extinction with acceptable resolution can be recorded.
Laser energy meter is good for online determination of the laser pulse energy. Acquired data can be used for normalization of the captured spectra to minimize the effect of laser energy fluctuation. The suitable energy range, diameter of the aperture of the selected sensor and the capability of data collection by PC are usually the key parameters.
Laser attenuator is an optomechanical system that attenuates part of the laser energy usually by the means of changing the polarization state and by reflecting the part of the laser energy to the beam trap. This enables pulse energy setting while the laser can operate at maximum power, where its operation is the most stable (taking into consideration the pulse-to-pulse energy fluctuation) with defined beam profile. Laser attenuator is indispensable for high performance lasers in order to prevent degradation or even irreversible damage of optical elements.
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