How does LIBS work?

LIBS is an acronym for Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy. It is an analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials. Handheld LIBS analyzers work by using a high-focused laser to ablate the surface of a sample. A plasma is formed consisting of electronically excited atoms and ions. As these atoms decay back into their ground states, they emit characteristic wavelengths of light, or “unique fingerprints”. These “fingerprints” are distinct for each element, making handheld LIBS analysis an excellent tool for quantitative and qualitative measurements. Ready to learn more? Request a demo to speak with a member from our team.

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LIBS Diagram

Step-by-step LIBS analysis

  1. A laser pulse is produced by the analyzer and pointed at the sample surface.
  2. The surface is ablated and forms a plasma. The plasma atomizes and excites the sample, emitting light.
  3. The emitted light is transferred through fiber optics and enters the spectrometer through a slit.
  4. The light interacts with a diffraction grating where it is split into component wavelengths/ colors to be classified.
  5. The wavelengths/ colors are transferred to the detector and produce spectral data.
  6. The central processing unit (CPU) analyzes the spectral data and provides a detailed composition analysis which can be examined, and the concentration of each element determined.
  7. Composition data and other grade or value identification is displayed and stored via memory for later recall or download to an external PC.

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"LIBS Technology for Non-Scientists"

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Browse the XRF and LIBS Glossary

Browse the XRF and LIBS Glossary

Want to learn more about XRF and LIBS? Visit our online glossary for a comprehensive, instant reference to vocabulary related to handheld XRF and portable LIBS.

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