Study of Micro-Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (uLIBS) for Applications in Planetary Exploration
Cote, Kristen Grace
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Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a type of atomic emission spectroscopy which uses a laser to create a plasma on the surface of a target material. Light collected from the plasma will show characteristic emission lines coming from unique deexcitation transitions within the atoms comprising the sample. LIBS is particularly useful for remote planetary exploration because it requires relatively simple components and has the ability to perform measurements of any type of target without the need for sample preparation. Micro-LIBS (LIBS) is a variant of LIBS using J laser pulse energies and m spatial sampling scales. An investigation of LIBS for geologic samples has only been performed twice before, on the minerals hematite and ilmenite. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA), in partnership with MDA, INO and York University, are combining LIBS with two similar analytical techniques Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy to develop the LIBS/Raman sensor (LIRS). The performance of the LIRS instrument was characterized, and was found to be competitive with other single-mode instruments, including ChemCam, and others. An investigation into the capabilities and limitations of LIBS was extended to include 38 geologic standard materials. Concurrently, a separate LIBS system was designed and constructed with the intent to further explore feasibility of LIBS on specific sample types in various environmental conditions.