Theoretical modeling of laser ablation of quaternary bronze alloys: Case studies comparing femtosecond and nanosecond LIBS experimental data

Lucilla Fornarini, Roberta Fantoni, Francesco Colao, Antonio Santagata, Roberto Teghil, Asmaa Elhassan, Mohamed A. Harith

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14 Citations (Scopus)


A model, formerly proposed and utilized to understand the formation of laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) plasma upon irradiation with nanosecond laser pulses at different fluences and wavelengths, has been extended to the irradiation with femtosecond laser pulses in order to control the fractionation mechanisms which heavily affect the application of laser-ablation-based microanalytical techniques. The model takes into account the different chemico-physical processes occurring during the interaction of an ultrashort laser pulse with a metallic surface. In particular, a two-temperature description, relevant to the electrons and lattice of the substrate, respectively, has been introduced and applied to different ternary and quaternary copper-based alloys subjected to fs and ns ablation both in the visible (527 nm) and in the UV (248 nm). The model has been found able to reproduce the shorter plasma duration experimentally found upon fs laser ablation. Kinetic decay times of several copper (major element) emission lines have been examined together with those relevant to the main plasma parameters. The plasma experimental temperature, derived assuming a Boltzmann distribution, and the electron density following the Saha equation have been compared with the corresponding theoretical data. A satisfactory description of plasma parameters and main matrix constituent composition has been obtained in the time window where local thermal equilibrium was assumed for LIBS data analysis. Improved analytical capabilities are predicted upon delayed detection of plasma emission in femtosecond LIBS, in relation to the better LOD achieved and to the improved data reproducibility expected. Results support the utilization of ultrafast laser sources for trace detection, despite the residual fractionation occurring in the examined range of fluences which affects the linearity of experimental calibration curves built for tin and lead after internal standardization on copper. The validation of model results by experimental data allowed highlighting, from first principles, of the ablation mechanisms for the two temporal regimes and information on how this affects the accurate microanalysis of Cu-based alloys. © 2009 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14364 - 14374
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number52
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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