Lasers and Laser-Source Technologies

New Atomic Spectroscopy–Based Approaches in Geochronology: An Interview with the 2018 Emerging Leader in Atomic Spectroscopy

January 02, 2018

Geochronology is an exciting area of atomic spectroscopy and earth science research. One of the goals is to answer tectonic questions, and in particular, how the crust responds to continent–continent collision. John M. Cottle, a professor of earth science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is one of the scientists on that mission. Cottle and his research group are at the forefront of discovery in geochronology, combining both laboratory and field-based research. In particular, Cottle is a leader in the development of novel laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) measurements and their application to tectonic questions in convergent orogens, which are mountain ranges formed when a continental plate crumples and is pushed upwards.

Where Can LIBS Make the Biggest Impact?

November 04, 2015

For an emergent analytical technique to be adopted, its proponents must find applications where it offers significant benefits over established techniques, such as sensitivity, speed, cost, or ease of use, or some combination of those. For laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), identifying its ideal niche has been one of the challenges in gaining followers. To assess where LIBS is being used today, what new areas are emerging, and how well LIBS competes with other methods in those new areas, we asked a panel of experts for their views.

Key Challenges in LIBS—and How to Solve Them

August 05, 2015

In honor of Spectroscopy’s celebration of 30 years covering the latest developments in materials analysis, we asked experts to assess the current state of the art of six key spectroscopic techniques. Here, the experts weigh in on the key challenges in laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), and how these problems might be solved.

Analysis of the State of the Art: LIBS

June 01, 2015


In honor of Spectroscopy's celebration of 30 years covering the latest developments in materials analysis, we asked a panel of experts to assess the current state of the art of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), and to try to predict how technology will develop in the future.

Down to Earth: Measurements of Geological, Coal, and Soil Samples with LIBS

January 01, 2015


This article explores the use of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for measurements of elemental concentrations and bulk properties of heterogeneous, earthen-based samples. Rapid field and industrial measurements of these matrices are difficult using traditional methods.

LIBS and the Mars Curiosity Rover

September 09, 2014

NASA's Curiosity rover landed inside the 3.7-billion-year-old Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, and it has been obtaining data about the planet?s rocks and soils with its ChemCam instrument ever since. We recently spoke with Roger Wiens of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Principal Investigator of the ChemCam instrument, about the instrument's laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) capabilities.

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy: A Closer Look at the Capabilities of LIBS

July 01, 2014


Dr. Richard R. Hark, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, discusses his work with LIBS in applications such as forensic science, conflict minerals, and geochemical fingerprinting.

Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry for Rare Isotopes of the Light Elements

June 01, 2014


This article describes measurements of isotopes of hydrogen, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and chlorine using laser ablation molecular isotopic spectrometry (LAMIS).

LIBS Basics, Part II: Hardware

April 01, 2014


The choices for LIBS hardware are discussed in detail, particularly lasers and spectrometers, and the trade-offs between cost, size, and performance are illustrated.

The Top 13 Articles from Spectroscopy in 2013

January 21, 2014

Everyone loves a list, and the editors of Spectroscopy are no exception! In 2013, Spectroscopy covered a wide array of topics throughout the year to bring you the most relevant information for your work, on topics ranging from selecting the right ICP-MS system to deciding which Raman technique is right for you, from our annual salary survey to calibration transfer. Here is a list of 13 popular articles and columns from 2013