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Further, the final elemental identification can be performed by using the NIST reference database [16] of atomic emission lines, and cross-comparing the two results. Portable, handheld LIBS instruments have been shown to be able to measure most major and trace elements in a broad variety of minerals, whereas this cannot be achieved by the use of other field portable instruments.

Connors et al. These authors presented calibration data for multiple elements of interest along with examples of elemental mapping in heterogeneous samples. These preliminary results indicate the significant potential of LIBS to provide, not only the qualitative analysis and microelement mapping of heterogeneous samples, but also the quantitative concentration of many key elements.

This performance, combined with GPS and wireless connection features, is expected to enable even more exciting field applications, such as physical mineral mapping across large areas and instant data transmission back to a central database [17].

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy

Very recently, Harmon et al. The distinct chemical features of the samples analyzed, i. Further, the partial least squares discriminant analysis PLSDA was used to distinguish and classify with excellent discrimination all sample types studied. These authors [18] have also discussed how the concept of geochemical fingerprinting can be applied to carbonate, silicate and oxide minerals and gold under simulated field conditions. This, by spectral matching with a spectral library predetermined and assembled for the target of interest in order to obtain mineral identification, stratigraphic correlation and provenance determination to be used in geochemical exploration.

The design of a commercial handheld LIBS instrument and the first test measurements performed on a fragment of a sedimentary rock monument have been presented in a very recent work by our research group [19]. The main elemental composition of two distinct layers, i. A full broadband LIBS emission spectrum was recorded in a few seconds from a single laser shot, which provided information on the elements present in the weathered layer and underneath stone.

Further, the application of Calibration Free CF -LIBS approach allowed to obtain a suitable quantitative composition of the main elements present in the samples.

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The on-going advances in laser, spectrometer and detector technologies have contributed significantly to the development and construction of compact and user-friendly portable handheld LIBS instruments capable of operating outside the research laboratory. This has opened new opportunities to geologists, archaeologists and conservators by lowering the instrumentation cost that might be prohibitive for small and medium scale laboratories. For example, LIBS can be used to rapidly identify samples that may need special treatment and select appropriate samples in the field so optimizing further analysis to be performed in conventional laboratory programs.

Despite handheld LIBS technology is apparently very promising for use in geological field investigations; the technology still needs important technological advances, including the increase of detection limits and improvements in analytical precision. Further, the user interfaces and calibrated materials are not yet designed for specific use in field geology, which renders difficult the rapid interpretation of geochemical data in the field.

What is Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)?

Commercial manufacturers of LIBS instruments are, however, refining their products by developing new and emerging technologies with the aim of expanding the scientific user base. In particular, more work is required to define the best operational parameters to be applied to a wider range of lithologies, the best practice for measuring trace elements, and refine sampling protocols to be used with handheld LIBS instrumentation. To this regard, appropriate algorithms should be developed which allow data obtained by handheld LIBS to yield reliable geochemical fingerprints for a variety of rock types in real time.

Although the work done until now has shown that handheld LIBS is a valuable tool for terrestrial field geology, further investigation of the strengths, weaknesses, operational improvements and best practices for deploying the instrument, can be expected to advance extensively terrestrial field geology studies and become a critical tool for future planetary field explorers.

Further work is presently underway in our laboratories to optimize the handheld LIBS technique in order to obtain reliable quantitative analysis data of a quality level similar to that of other analytical techniques, such as electron probe microanalysis, and extend this approach to new areas of application. The author declare that there is no competing interests regarding the publication of this article.

1. Introduction

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Int J Earth Environ Sci 2: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Introduction The elemental analysis of minerals and rocks is a very important routine work in geo-environmental sciences, as it provides unique information on their chemical composition that, in turn, allows to derive a variety of growth parameters that are of fundamental importance to the understanding of geological and weathering processes.

Geological Application of Portable Handheld LIBS Instrument Portable, handheld LIBS instruments have been shown to be able to measure most major and trace elements in a broad variety of minerals, whereas this cannot be achieved by the use of other field portable instruments. Conclusions and Perspectives The on-going advances in laser, spectrometer and detector technologies have contributed significantly to the development and construction of compact and user-friendly portable handheld LIBS instruments capable of operating outside the research laboratory.

Atomic emission spectroscopy. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. More Details author. Cremers, David A. Radziemski, Leon J. The authors, with a total of over 60 years of experience in the LIBS method, use a combination of tutorial discussions ranging from basic principles up to more advanced descriptions along with extensive figures and photographs to clearly explain topics addressed in the text. In this second edition, chapters on the use of statistical analysis and advances in detection of weapons of mass destruction have been added.

Tables of data related to analysis with LIBS have been updated.


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