Using Online-LASIL for Trace Element Analysis in Technological Materials

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A new study presents significant improvements in the online-laser ablation of solids in liquids (online-LASIL) technique for quantitative analysis of trace elements in technological materials.

In a recent publication in the journal Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy, a new study presented the results on the quantitative analysis of trace elements in technological materials using online-laser ablation of solids in liquids (online-LASIL) (1).

Online-LASIL combines the benefits of solution-based analysis and solid sampling methods. It involves using a laser to ablate solid samples directly into a liquid solution, allowing for improved sample preparation and analysis (1). One of the major advantages of online-LASIL is its ability to overcome the limitations of conventional solid sampling techniques, especially when matrix-matched standards are unavailable (1). Online-LASIL is designed to enable more accurate and precise measurements, particularly at trace levels.

Currently, a great demand exists for novel materials that surpass the limitations of previous material classes. However, the elemental composition of these materials plays an important role in determining crucial properties, ranging from bulk stoichiometry to ultra-trace impurities (1). Hence, precise analytical characterization is needed to create a connection between composition and function (1).

Conventional solid sampling techniques have been employed for this purpose in the past. However, one major obstacle arises when matrix-matched standards, vital for quantitative analysis, are unavailable for the technological materials under investigation (1). Online-LASIL seeks to be a solution, offering a unique combination of the benefits provided by solution-based analysis and solid sampling techniques (1). Nevertheless, until now, this technique has mainly been applied to determine sample stoichiometry.


The research team reported major improvements to the online-LASIL approach, introducing controllable segmentation of the carrier solution (1). The modification that was made led to an enhanced washout behavior of the ablated material, enabling quantitative investigations at trace levels (1). The researchers performed quantitative analysis of trace elements in the standard reference material (SRM) NIST612 to validate the accuracy of this improved measurement setup (1).

In addition, the team demonstrated the applicability of the method by analyzing silicon carbide (SiC), a wide bandgap semiconductor (1). Using the improved online-LASIL technique, they successfully quantified an aluminum-doped region, which was found to remain constant for the first 250 nm (1).

Online-LASIL and its current advancements has allowed researchers to analyze trace elements in technological materials accurately. Researchers and scientists in various fields will be able to employ this technique to gain deeper insights into the elemental composition of materials, thereby facilitating the development of new and improved materials that can meet the demands of the modern era.


(1) Podsednik, M.; Weiss, M.; Larisegger, S.; Frank, J.; Pobegen, G.; Nelhiebel, M.; Limbeck, A.Quantitative analysis of trace elements in technological materials using online-laser ablation of solids in liquids (online-LASIL). Spectrochimica Acta Part B: At. Spectrosc. 2023, 205, 106705. DOI: 10.1016/j.sab.2023.106705