What is laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS)?
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a type of atomic emission spectroscopy that employs a laser to ablate or vaporize a microscopic layer of a sample’s surface. The resultant plasma caused by this laser ablation process emits light as it cools. This light is then collected and analyzed with a spectrometer for quantitative and qualitative material analysis.
This rapid chemical analysis technique offers many advantages compared to other elemental analysis techniques:
- A sample preparation-free measurement experience
- Extremely fast measurement time, usually a few seconds, for a single spot analysis
- Broad elemental coverage, including lighter elements, such as H, Be, Li, C, N, O, Na, and Mg
- Versatile sampling protocols that include fast raster of the sample surface and depth profiling
- Thin-sample analysis without the worry of the substrate interference
LIBS for Material Analysis
This virtually non-destructive spectral analysis method has valuable applications across numerous physical science fields, including identification of defects in glass, distribution of lithium, manganese, nickel and other elements in lithium-ion batteries, depth analysis of different layers, and fast analysis of the element content in samples.
A typical detection limit of LIBS for heavy metallic elements is in the low-PPM range. LIBS is applicable to a wide range of sample matrices that include metals, semiconductors, glasses, biological tissues, insulators, plastics, soils, plants, soils, thin-paint coating, and electronic materials.
LIBS Analysis Method
LIBS is a type of atomic emission spectroscopy which uses a highly energetic laser pulse as the excitation source. The laser is focused to form a plasma of the material to be analyzed. Spectral analysis of the plasma emission created yields a fingerprint of the elemental composition of the sample.
LIBS has an interesting analysis method. First, a laser beam is focused on the surface of the material to be analyzed. The temperature at the focus point reaches 20,000-40,000°C, at which point the material becomes plasma and emits light which wavelength distribution is dependent on the material (known as the ‘fingerprint’ of the elemental composition of the sample).
The emitted light is collected by the fibre optics and enters the spectrometer, which then disperses the light and produces a spectrum according to its wavelength component. The sampled material is analyzed by comparing the sampled dispersed light to a given chemical element’s spectrum.
The laser’s typical frequency can generate 300-500 spectra. This enables a full analysis result every three to five minutes, making it a very fast and reliable method of analysis.
For this demanding application, high-speed spectrometers in a multi-channel setup, like the AvaSpec-ULS2048CL-EVO or its smaller version: the AvaSpec-Mini2048CL for easy integration into your own system. To overcome the distance between a sample and the fibre optics, a collimating lens is often used in LIBS setups.
Why choose Avantes for your LIBS application?
- Multi-channel capabilities for high resolution
- Excellent timing and triggering
- Fast and reliable analysis through our spectroscopy software
- Extensive knowledge on LIBS applications
These are some of the products mentioned above. To find the perfect setup for your specific application, contact one of our sales engineers for advice.
Below are some detailed application notes on various uses of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy in different applications and industries.