Efficient plasma and bubble generation underwater by an optimized laser excitation and its application for liquid analyses by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy

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Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) measurements were performed on bulk water solutions by applying a double-pulse excitation from a Q-Switched (QS) Nd:YAG laser emitting at 1064 nm. In order to optimize the LIBS signal, laser pulse energies were varied through changing of the QS trigger delays with respect to the flash-lamp trigger. We had noted that reduction of the first pulse energy from 92 mJ to 72 mJ drastically improves the signal, although the second pulse energy was also lowered from 214 mJ to 144 mJ. With lower pulse energies, limit of detection (LOD) for Mg in pure water was reduced for one order of magnitude (34 ppb instead of 210 ppb). In order to explain such a phenomenon, we studied the dynamics of the gas bubble generated after the first laser pulse through measurements of the HeNe laser light scattered on the bubble. The influence of laser energy on underwater bubble and plasma formation and corresponding plasma emission intensity were also studied by photographic technique. From the results obtained, we conclude that the optimal first pulse energy should be kept close to the plasma elongation threshold, in our case about 65 mJ, where the gas bubble has its maximum lateral expansion and the secondary plasma is still well-localized. The importance of a multi-pulse sequence on the LIBS signal was also analyzed, where the pulse sequence after the first QS aperture was produced by operating the laser close to the lasing threshold, with the consequent generation of relaxation oscillations. Low-energy multi-pulses might keep the bubble expansion large prior to the probing pulse, but preventing the formation of secondary weak plasmas in multiple sites, which reduces the LIBS signal. The short interval between the pre-pulses and the probing pulse is another reason for the observed LIBS signal enhancement. © 2007.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1433 - 1442
Number of pages10
JournalSpectrochimica Acta, Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Spectroscopy

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