LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) is a type of optical emission spectroscopy used to measure elemental concentrations in a material. LIBS operates by using a pulsed, focused laser that is fired at a sample with sufficient pulse energy as to create a plasma around the area struck. Bound atomic electrons are striped from the atoms comprising the material. As the plasma cools, atoms recombine with electrons and in the process emit light in the UV, optical and IR regimes.
LIBS has been used for more than 30 years as a laboratory technique, capable of analyzing any element in the periodic table. Recently, the technique has been miniaturized into a handheld device (HH LIBS) capable of analyzer any element, depending on the spectrometer range chosen for the device.