Material Matters: The Key to Laser Selection in LIBS Analysis

Selecting the most suitable laser for Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is crucial because it directly impacts the quality and accuracy of the analysis. The right choice depends on the material being tested, as different materials require different laser properties for efficient ablation and optimal results. With our extensive experience and numerous measurements across a wide range of materials, we have developed a comprehensive understanding of which lasers provide the best results for specific applications.

Materials such as alloys and metals have high thermal conductivity and reflectivity, therefore lasers with intense energy output are needed to generate plasma effectively. Nanosecond infrared (IR) lasers are ideal in this context because they provide deep penetration and efficient ablation. The example of a laser that could be used for testing such a type of a material is the Nd:YAG laser operating at fundamental wavelength 1064 nm.

Minerals, on the other hand, have complex matrices with which visible pulse lasers (532 nm) deal better. To obtain cleaner spectral lines ultraviolet (UV) lasers (355 and 266 nm) can be implemented that can reduce background continuum emission and improve the detection of light elements. For its efficient ablation capabilities, UV pulsed lasers are also suitable for materials such as glass and ceramics.

Organic materials are sensitive to thermal degradation, so they require lasers that minimize thermal effects. UV nanosecond pulsed lasers and femtosecond lasers are appropriate for this purpose due to their low ablation thresholds and ability to reduce heat diffusion to surrounding material, preserving the integrity of the sample. These properties of UV nanosecond lasers are also fitting for plastics and polymers. Femtosecond lasers, for the advantage of high precision and minimal heat affected zone, which is essential to avoid damaging the underlying layers, are also suitable for testing thin films and coatings. Femtosecond Ti:Sapphire lasers, are the specific type of lasers that produce extremely short pulses resulting in minimizing thermal damage.

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In LIBS experiments, only high energy pulsed lasers are utilized. The market offers a variety of pulsed lasers with differing technical specifications. As the radiation-to-matter interaction predominantly depends on the physical parameters of the impinging pulses such as wavelength, pulse duration, pulse energy, and beam quality, the technical characteristics of lasers can profoundly influence the behavior of resulting plasma and, consequently, the accuracy of the analysis. As a result, LIBS measurements deliver unmatched precision and reliability, making it the top choice for analytical research worldwide. 

When it comes to selecting the perfect laser for your LIBS analysis, trust AtomTrace to deliver the best results. With our unmatched expertise and experience, we’ll help you choose the ideal laser for your specific tests, ensuring precise and reliable outcomes every time. 


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