Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) was applied to nitroaromatic (NC) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) samples in ambient air to characterize their resultant emission. Compounds covering various surfaces were ablated by use of the second (532-nm) or the fourth (266-nm) harmonic of a nanosecond pulsed Nd:YAG laser. The emission consisted of spectral features related mostly to CN and C<sub>2</sub> molecular fragments and to C, H, N, and O atomic fragments. The transitions of the molecular fragments correspond to the CN (B <sup>2</sup>∑<sup>+</sup>-<i>X</i><sup>2</sup>∑<sup>+</sup>) violet system and the C<sub>2</sub> (<i>d</i><sup>3</sup>Π<sub><i>g</i></sub>-<i>a</i><sup>3</sup>Π<sub><i>u</i></sub>) Swan system; the intensity of the former is higher in NCs than in PAHs. The intensity ratios between C<sub>2</sub> and CN and between O and N correlate to the molecular structure, suggesting the possibility of distinguishing one chemical class from another and in optimum cases even identifying specific compounds by use of LIBS.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
Alexander Portnov, Salman Rosenwaks, and Ilana Bar, "Emission Following Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy of Organic Compounds in Ambient Air," Appl. Opt. 42, 2835-2842 (2003)