Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy has been utilized to classify and identify bacterial specimens on the basis of their atomic composition. We have characterized the effect that the presence of a second bacterial species in the ablated specimen had on the identification of the majority species. Specimens with a reduced number of bacterial cells (approximately 2500) were identified with 100% accuracy when compared to undiluted specimens. In addition, a linear dependence of the total spectral power as a function of cell number was determined. Lastly, a high selectivity was obtained for a LIBS-based analysis of nine separate bacterial strains from four genera.
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