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LIBS Focal Point Article

December 11, 2010

If you work in the field of Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) or plan to work in future, you have to read the latest focal point article in Applied Spectroscopy by two experts in the field, David Hahn and Nicolo Omenetto from University of Florida. It’s an excellent article (32 pages, 280 references) which reviews various fundamental studies in LIBS until now and questions certain fundamental issues (Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium assumption, spatial homogeneity of the plasma etc) which need to be clearly understood and resolved by the LIBS community in order to make LIBS a well established analytical technique. This is first in series of 2-set focal point articles on LIBS. I am in the process of reading the article and will update my blog once I have finished reading the article. You can access the full article here. It was decided by Society for Applied Spectroscopy during the FACSS 2010 meeting that all the focal point articles in Applied Spectroscopy will be available for free to all the readers. All the focal point articles since 1994 will be soon available on the SAS and ingentaconnect website pretty soon. The abstract of the LIBS article is as follows:

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS), Part I: Review of Basic Diagnostics and Plasma-Particle Interactions: Still-Challenging Issues Within the Analytical Plasma Community

Authors: Hahn, David W.; Omenetto, Nicoló

Source: Applied Spectroscopy, Volume 64, Issue 12, Pages 318A-366A and 1311-1452 (December 2010) , pp. 335A-366A(32)

DOI: 10.1366/000370210793561691

Abstract:

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has become a very popular analytical method in the last decade in view of some of its unique features such as applicability to any type of sample, practically no sample preparation, remote sensing capability, and speed of analysis. The technique has a remarkably wide applicability in many fields, and the number of applications is still growing. From an analytical point of view, the quantitative aspects of LIBS may be considered its Achilles’ heel, first due to the complex nature of the laser-sample interaction processes, which depend upon both the laser characteristics and the sample material properties, and second due to the plasma-particle interaction processes, which are space and time dependent. Together, these may cause undesirable matrix effects. Ways of alleviating these problems rely upon the description of the plasma excitation-ionization processes through the use of classical equilibrium relations and therefore on the assumption that the laser-induced plasma is in local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE). Even in this case, the transient nature of the plasma and its spatial inhomogeneity need to be considered and overcome in order to justify the theoretical assumptions made. This first article focuses on the basic diagnostics aspects and presents a review of the past and recent LIBS literature pertinent to this topic. Previous research on non-laser-based plasma literature, and the resulting knowledge, is also emphasized. The aim is, on one hand, to make the readers aware of such knowledge and on the other hand to trigger the interest of the LIBS community, as well as the larger analytical plasma community, in attempting some diagnostic approaches that have not yet been fully exploited in LIBS.
Image Credit: Applied Spectroscopy, Ingenta Connect, Authors of the article

Abstract:

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has become a very popular analytical method in the last decade in view of some of its unique features such as applicability to any type of sample, practically no sample preparation, remote sensing capability, and speed of analysis. The technique has a remarkably wide applicability in many fields, and the number of applications is still growing. From an analytical point of view, the quantitative aspects of LIBS may be considered its Achilles’ heel, first due to the complex nature of the laser-sample interaction processes, which depend upon both the laser characteristics and the sample material properties, and second due to the plasma-particle interaction processes, which are space and time dependent. Together, these may cause undesirable matrix effects. Ways of alleviating these problems rely upon the description of the plasma excitation-ionization processes through the use of classical equilibrium relations and therefore on the assumption that the laser-induced plasma is in local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE). Even in this case, the transient nature of the plasma and its spatial inhomogeneity need to be considered and overcome in order to justify the theoretical assumptions made. This first article focuses on the basic diagnostics aspects and presents a review of the past and recent LIBS literature pertinent to this topic. Previous research on non-laser-based plasma literature, and the resulting knowledge, is also emphasized. The aim is, on one hand, to make the readers aware of such knowledge and on the other hand to trigger the interest of the LIBS community, as well as the larger analytical plasma community, in attempting some diagnostic approaches that have not yet been fully exploited in LIBS.

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