Dec 2012, Volume 7 Issue 6

Cover illustration

  • Laser-induced plasma and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS): fast spectroscopic images showing the expansion of a plasma induced by a ns-laser pulse on an aluminum target in an argon ambient gas (left) and surface elemental maps of a marble (middle Sr and right Mg) with LIBS. The front cover, up left: structure of a plasma induced from a polymer material (polyethylene) in the air ambient with C2 molecule in yellow, CN radical in red and N atom in bleu; Up right: typi [Detail] ...

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    Zhi-Yuan Li

    The major purpose of this paper is to present a brief overview of the history and the current status of nanophotonics research in China, and to highlight some research results in the past years made by the Chinese nanophotonics communities. I will first briefly introduce the principles of nanophotonics and several of its major disciplines including photonic crystals, plasmonics and metamaterials, and related artificial acoustic structures. Then I will highlight some major progresses made by Chinese research groups in these areas with the selection made merely based on my personal taste. The aim is to let these results better known and appreciated by researchers in the Chinese communities of nanophotonics and related areas, and provide better opportunities of researchers in different areas to have more communications. I also hope that this brief introduction will help to make a better bridge to connect Chinese nanophotonics communities with the broader communities in the world.

    Jun-Hua Chen(陈俊华), Hong-Yi Fan(范洪义)

    We find that laser process can be equivalently described by a symplectic evolution in the context of thermo field dynamics, and the corresponding coherent state evolution for the corresponding master equation is recognized. More interestingly, this embodies a new application of non-Hermitian Hamiltonian operator which can well expose the entanglement between the system and its environment.

    Yu-Gang Ma, Jin-Hui Chen, Liang Xue

    In this article, we present a brief review of the discoveries of kinds of antimatter particles, including positron (eˉ), antiproton (pˉ), antideuteron (dˉ) and antihelium-3 (He ˉ3). Special emphasis is put on the discovery of the antihypertriton(3ΛHˉ) and antihelium-4 nucleus (He ˉ4, or αˉ) which were reported by the RHIC-STAR experiment very recently. In addition, brief discussions about the effort to search for antinuclei in cosmic rays and study of the longtime confinement of the simplest antimatter atom, antihydrogen are also given. Moreover, the production mechanism of anti-light nuclei is introduced.

    Jin Yu, Ronger Zheng
    Jin Yu (俞进), Qianli Ma (马千里), Vincent Motto-Ros, Wenqi Lei (雷文奇), Xiaochun Wang (王晓纯), Xueshi Bai (白雪石)

    Laser-induced plasma represents today a widespread spectroscopic emission source. It can be easily generated using compact and reliable nanosecond pulsed laser on a large variety of materials. Its application for spectrochemical analysis for example with laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has become so popular that one tends to forget the complex physical and chemical processes leading to its generation and governing its evolution. The purpose of this review article is to summarize the backgrounds necessary to understand and describe the laser-induced plasma from its generation to its expansion into the ambient gas. The objective is not to go into the details of each process; there are numerous specialized papers and books for that in the literature. The goal here is to gather in a same paper the essential understanding elements needed to describe laser-induced plasma as results from a complex process. These elements can be dispersed in several related but independent fields such as laser–matter interaction, laser ablation of material, optical and thermodynamic properties of hot and ionized gas, or plasma propagation in a background gas. We believe that presenting the ensemble of understanding elements of laser-induced plasma in a comprehensive way and in limited pages of this paper will be helpful for further development and optimized use of the LIBS technique. Experimental results obtained in our laboratory are used to illustrate the studied physical processes each time such illustration becomes possible and helpful.

    Yue Cai, Po-Chun Chu, Sut Kam Ho, Nai-Ho Cheung

    A new multi-element analysis technique based on laser-excited atomic fluorescence was reviewed. However, the one-wavelength-one-transition constraint was overcome. Numerous elements were induced to fluoresce at a single excitation wavelength of 193 nm. This was possible provided that the analytes were imbedded in dense plumes, such as those produced by pulsed laser ablation. The underlying mechanism of the technique was explained and corroborated. Analytical applications to metals, plastics, ceramics and their composites were discribed. Detection limits in the ng/g range and mass limits of atto moles were demonstrated. Several real-world problems, including the analysis of paint coating for trace lead, the non-destructive analysis of potteries and ink, the chemical profiling of electrode–plastic interfaces, and the analysis of ingestible lead colloids were discussed.

    Feng-Zhong Dong, Xing-Long Chen, Qi Wang, Lan-Xiang Sun, Hai-Bin Yu, Yun-Xian Liang, Jing-Ge Wang, Zhi-Bo Ni, Zhen-Hui Du, Yi-Wen Ma, Ji-Dong Lu

    Recent progress on the application of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for metallurgical analysis particularly achieved by Chinese research community is briefly reviewed in this article. The content is mainly focused on the progress in experimental research and calibration methods toward LIBS applications for metallurgical online analysis over the past few years. Different experiment setups such as single-pulse and double-pulses LIBS schematics are introduced. Various calibration methods for different metallic samples are presented. Quantitative results reported in the literature and obtained in the analysis of various samples with different calibration methods are summarized. At the last section of this article, the difficulties of LIBS application for molten metal analysis in a furnace are discussed.

    Lei Zhang (张雷), Zhi-Yu Hu (胡志裕), Wang-Bao Yin (尹王保), Dan Huang (黄丹), Wei-Guang Ma (马维光), Lei Dong (董磊), Hong-Peng Wu (武红鹏), Zhi-Xin Li (李志新), Lian-Tuan Xiao (肖连团), Suo-Tang Jia (贾锁堂)
    Our recent progress on developments of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) based equipments for on-line monitoring of pulverized coal and unburned carbon (UC) level of fly ash are reviewed. A fully software-controlled LIBS equipment comprising a self-cleaning device for on-line coal quality monitoring in power plants is developed. The system features an automated sampling device, which is capable of elemental (C, Ca, Mg, Ti, Si, H, Al, Fe, S, and organic oxygen) and proximate analysis (Qad and Aad) through optimal data processing methods. An automated prototype LIBS apparatus has been developed for possible application to power plants for on-line analysis of UC level in fly ash. New data processing methods are proposed to correct spectral interference and matrix effects, with the accuracy for UC level analysis estimated to be 0.26%.
    Qian-Qian Wang, Kai Liu, Hua Zhao, Cong-Hui Ge, Zhi-Wen Huang

    Our recent work on the detection of explosives by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is reviewed in this paper. We have studied the physical mechanism of laser-induced plasma of an organic explosive, TNT. The LIBS spectra of TNT under single-photon excitation are simulated using MATLAB. The variations of the atomic emission lines intensities of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen versus the plasma temperature are simulated too. We also investigate the time-resolved LIBS spectra of a common inorganic explosive, black powder, in two kinds of surrounding atmospheres, air and argon, and find that the maximum value of the O atomic emission line SBR of black powder occurs at a gate delay of 596 ns. Another focus of our work is on using chemometic methods such as principle component analysis (PCA) and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) to distinguish the organic explosives from organic materials such as plastics. A PLS-DA model for classification is built. TNT and seven types of plastics are chosen as samples to test the model. The experimental results demonstrate that LIBS coupled with the chemometric techniques has the capacity to discriminate organic explosive from plastics.

    Zhe Wang, Ting-Bi Yuan, Siu-Lung Lui, Zong-Yu Hou, Xiong-Wei Li, Zheng Li, Wei-Dou Ni

    Three major elements, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, in twenty-four bituminous coal samples, were measured by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. Argon and helium were applied as ambient gas to enhance the signals and eliminate the interference of nitrogen from surrounding air. The relative standard deviation of the related emission lines and the performance in the partial least squares (PLS) modeling were compared for different ambient environments. The results showed that argon not only improved the intensity, but also reduced signal fluctuation. The PLS model also had the optimal performance in multi-element analysis using argon as ambient gas. The root mean square error of prediction of carbon concentration decreased from 4.25% in air to 3.49% in argon, while the average relative error reduced from 4.96% to 2.98%. Hydrogen line demonstrated similar improvement. Yet, the nitrogen lines were too weak to be detected even in an argon environment which suggested the nitrogen signal measured in air come from the breakdown of nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere.

    Yong Zhang, Yun-Hai Jia, Jin-Wen Chen, Xue-Jing Shen, Lei Zhao, Chun Yang, Yong-Yan Chen, Yong-Hui Zhang, Peng-Cheng Han

    Lens-to-sample distances, delay time, atmospheric condition, laser pulse energy, etc. had obvious effects on the analytical performance of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. In this paper, these parameters are investigated in greater detail and we will explain how they have influences on the analytical performance. The results show that the focal plane under the sample surface can improve precision and detection limit, and the delay time should be decided according to sensitivity and accuracy. Spectral line intensity is stronger in argon than helium, nitrogen and air gas environment. Pulse energy should exceed energy threshold (about 50 mJ) which can generate plasma, and the energy should not exceed about 300 mJ to avoid plasma shielding. Under optimum parameters, concentration relative standard deviation of C, Si, Mn, P, S, Ni, and Cr for low-alloyed steel (sample number 11278) which were measured 11 times is 2.37%, 2.18%, 2.23%, 7.8%, 9.34%, 1.92%, and 2.13%, respectively. And the detection limit of C, Si, Mn, P, S, Ni, and Cr for pure steel is 0.0045%, 0.0072%, 0.0069%, 0.0027%, 0.0024%, 0.0047%, and 0.0024%, respectively.

    Xia-Fen Li, Wei-Dong Zhou, Zhi-Feng Cui

    Electron temperature and electron number density are important parameters in the characterization of plasma. In this paper the electron temperature and electron number density of soil plasma generated by laser ablation combined with nanosecond discharge spark at different discharge voltages have been studied. Saha–Boltzmann plot and Stark broadening are used to determine the temperature and electron number density. It is proved that local thermal equilibrium is fulfilled in the nanosecond spark enhanced plasma. The enhanced optical emission, signal to noise ratio and the stability in term of the relative standard deviation of signal intensity at different spark voltages were investigated in detail. A relative stable discharge process was observed with use of a 10 kV discharge voltage under the carried experimental configuration.