Article ID: ISIJINT-2019-088
This paper described how the lateral resolution of an elemental mapping was estimated in laser-induced breakdown optical emission spectrometry (LIBS), when the focus point of a high-frequency Q-switched Nd: YAG laser was moved on a sample surface, along with measuring the emission signal from the resultant plasma. Several measuring parameters were optimized to improve the lateral resolution; namely, they were an averaged laser power of 1 mJ/pulse, a laser repetition frequency of 1 kHz, a scanning rate of the laser beam of 0.5 mm/s, and an atmospheric gas pressure of He 1000 Pa. Using these optimal parameters, a lateral resolution was obtained to be ca. 20 μm in the one-dimensional direction of laser scan. Furthermore, two model samples, in which regularly-aligned copper circles were deposited on a nickel plate, were irradiated by a scanning laser beam to determine actual resolving abilities both in a line direction along travelling the laser and in a two-dimensional direction over a certain sample area. The sample having an interval of 85 μm between the copper circles could give an emission image which was appropriately resolved in the two-dimensional as well as the one-dimensional direction; however, in the other sample having the 25-μm interval, the two-dimensional resolution became degraded compared to the resolution of the line scan, probably because the ablation grooves, which were left on the sample surface, had a width of more than 100 μm and were overlapped with each other in the observed area.