Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)
Advanced NDT & Consulting utilizes the analytical technique laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). LIBS is a very similar technique to traditional spark OES. LIBS, unlike OES, offers the opportunity for miniaturization. The main similarity between OES and LIBS is that both techniques measure the same optical light emissions from the plasma. The main difference between the LIBS and spark OES is that LIBS uses a miniature, high-powered laser rather than a high voltage electric spark, to make the plasma. The replacement of the electric spark source with the laser is the key to making this technique handheld. The laser produces a smaller burn mark and requires a much smaller volume for argon purge, which is why a few hundred tests can be performed with a small canister located in the analyzer handle. Both techniques require appropriate warm-up, calibration check, and inert gas (argon) purge for quantitative results. Thus most OES operators will find that learning the LIBS technique is straightforward. The learning curve for handheld XRF (X-ray) operators is longer because LIBS, like OES, is not a simple point and shoot method, especially for carbon.