The plasma plume emissions produced by pulsed ( ~ 10 ns) laser ablation of liquid jets were monitored for spectrochemical analysis. Laser wavelengths at 532 and 193 nm were used, and sodium was the test analyte. As expected, the 532-nm laser pulse produced very intense plasma continuum emissions that masked the sodium signal for the first hundred nanoseconds, especially near the bright core of the vapor plume. Neither time-gating nor spatial masking could significantly improve the single-shot signal-to-noise ratio, since the transient nature of the emissions placed stringent demands on timing precision while the small size of the plume required accurate mask positioning-both antithetical to the inherent instability of jet ablation. In sharp contrast, the 193-nm laser pulse produced relatively dim plasma flash but intense sodium emissions, rendering it ideal for analytical applications.

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