We investigate the use of a second laser with a selected wavelength to improve the limit of detection (LoD) of trace elements in the Laser‐Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) technique. We consider the combination of LIBS with Laser‐Induced Fluorescence (LIF), in which the second laser is used to excite trace elements in the plasma. The influence of the main experimental parameters on the trace elements LIF signal, namely the ablation fluence, the excitation energy, and the inter‐pulse delay, was studied experimentally and a physical interpretation of the results was presented. For illustrative purpose we considered detection of Pb in brass samples and in water. The plasma was produced by a Q‐switched Nd:YAG laser and then re‐excited by a nanosecond optical parametric oscillator laser. We found out that the optimal conditions for our experimental set‐up were obtained for relatively weak ablation fluence of 2–3 J/cm2 and inter‐pulse delay of 5–10 μs. Using the LIBS‐LIFS technique, a single‐shot LoD for detection of lead of about 1.5 part per million (ppm) was obtained for solids and 0.5 ppm for liquids. These LoDs represent an improvement of about two orders of magnitude with respect to LIBS. We also discuss resonance‐enhanced LIBS (RELIBS), in which the second laser excites the main plasma component instead of the impurities. For the set of parameters used the RELIBS, Pb signal does not differ significantly from the LIBS signal except at low ablation fluence.
American Institute of Physics