In the work reported herein, we have combined a short-lived femtosecond laser-induced plasma (LIP) and a longer-lived nanosecond LIP in a collinear pulse configuration to examine the source(s) of atomic emission and signal-to-noise enhancement in dual-pulse laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). Initial studies indicate that the primary source of dual-pulse LIBS enhancement in the collinear configuration may in large part be a matter of pulse focus; focusing on the sample surface, for example, yields atomic emission enhancements whose lifetime correlates reasonably well with the femtosecond LIP emissive lifetime, suggesting that plasma–plasma coupling may play an important role at that pulse focus. At a second "optimal" focal position above the sample surface, alternatively, atomic emission and signal-to-noise enhancements correlate quite well with the nitrogen and oxygen atomic emission reductions previously seen following use of a femtosecond air spark and a nanosecond ablative pulse in the orthogonal dual-pulse configuration, suggesting that pressure or number density reductions due to femtosecond LIP formation in air may be significant at that pulse focus.
J. Scaffidi, W. Pearman, J. C. Carter, and S. M. Angel, "Observations in Collinear Femtosecond–Nanosecond Dual-Pulse Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy," Appl. Spectrosc. 60, 65-71 (2006)