Laser Zap: An Optical Approach for Elemental Analysis of Sample surfaces
Zeenab A. Pathan, Raja V.L.N, Sridhar, S.B.Patil, Adwaita Goswami, Kalpana Aravind and Laxmiprasad A.S.
Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems-ISRO
LASER, the noble invention of 19th century has turned as a key solution in several scientific and engineering domains. Its prominence is well known by diverse applications ranging from the ground use to the space use. One of such potential applications of the laser is in use of sample characterization i.e., the elemental composition study of a target sample. Past two decades have shown its simplicity, ability and versatility in performing elemental analyses of samples on ground for pollutant analysis, impurity estimations, hazardous material detection etc., from close by and for remote distances. This technique is known as ‘Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)’, in which a high-intense laser zaps the sample surface. Recent decade has witnessed a rejuvenated interest in application of the LIBS for planetary surface exploration missions to carryout in-situ and/or stand-off chemical analysis. The space agencies; NASA, ISRO, JAXA and ESA are channelizing their efforts in realization of an instrument based on LIBS to study planetary surfaces. This article primarily sheds light on concepts of LIBS technique along with details in brief on the realized experimental bench-top test setup and carried out in-situ investigations on terrestrial soil samples in ambient air based on the micro-LIBS approach.