Femtosecond laser ablation elemental mass spectrometry

Author(s): Roland Hergenröder, Ota Samek, Vanja Hommes


“Laser ablation mass spectrometry (LA-MS) has always been an interesting method for the elemental analysis of solid samples. Chemical analysis with a laser requires small amounts of material. Depending on the analytical detection system, subpicogram quantities may be sufficient. In addition, a focused laser beam permits the spatial characterization of heterogeneity in solid samples typically with micrometer resolution in terms of lateral and depth dimensions. With the advent of high-energy, ultra-short pulse lasers, new possibilities arise. The task of this review is to discuss the principle differences between the ablation process of short (>1 ps) and ultra-short (<1 ps) pulses. Based on the timescales and the energy balance of the process that underlies an ablation event, it will be shown that ultra-short pulses are less thermal and cause less collateral damages than longer pulses. The confinement of the pulse energy to the focal region guarantees a better spatial resolution in all dimensions and improves the analytical figures of merit (e.g., fractionation). Applications that demonstrate these features and that will be presented are in-depth profiling of multi-layer samples and the elemental analysis of biological materials.”

Link to Publications Page

Publication: Mass Spectrometry Reviews
Issue/Year: Mass Spectrometry Reviews, Volume 25, Issue 4 , Pages 551 – 572 (2005)
DOI: 10.1002/mas.20077