Quantitative analysis of aluminum and copper alloys by means of laser-induced plasma spectroscopy (LIPS) has been investigated for three representative laser pulse durations (80 fs, 2 ps, and 270 ps). The experiments were carried out in air at atmospheric pressure with a constant energy density of 20 J/cm2. Because the decay rate of the spectral emission depends on the laser pulse duration, the optimum detection requires an optimization of the temporal gating acquisition parameters. LIPS calibration (sensitivity and nonlinearity) and the limit of detection (LOD) are discussed in detail. While the LOD of minor elements embedded in alloy samples obtained by sub-picosecond or sub-nanosecond laser pulses are both time and element dependent, provided an appropriate temporal window is chosen, the optimum LODs (several parts per million (ppm)) prove to be independent of the laser pulse duration. Finally, it is found that for elements such as those detected here, gated LIPS spectra using picosecond or sub-picosecond laser pulses provide much better LOD values than non-gated spectra.

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