Man-Portable Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy System for in Situ Characterization of Karstic Formations

J. Cuñat, F.J. Fortes, L.M. Cabalín, F. Carrasco, M.D. Simón, J.J. Laserna, Applied Spectroscopy, 2008, 62, 1250 – 1255


This paper reports the development and field testing of a man-portable instrument based on laser-induced breakdown spectrometry (LIBS) for inspection and analysis of speleothems. The 50 mJ of a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser operating at 1064 nm was used to generate a plasma on the sample. Plasma emission was then guided using a fiber-optic cable to a 1/10 m spectrometer equipped with a charge-coupled device (CCD) array detector. Plasma light was automatically processed in order to obtain surface and in-depth information from the speleothems. A field campaign in the interior of Nerja Cave (a large karstic formation in the South of Spain) has been carried out, aimed at evaluating the analytical performance of the instrument when operating in an unfriendly environment. Identification analysis of the speleothems’ alteration layers and depth profiles of Sr and Ca is carried out and reported.

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