A comparative analysis of the discriminating power of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), each coupled with refractive index (RI) measurements, is presented for a study of 23 samples of automobile float glass. Elemental emission intensity ratios (LIBS) and elemental concentration ratios (LA-ICP-MS) and their associated confidence intervals were calculated for each float glass sample. The ratios and confidence intervals were used to determine the discrimination power of each analytical method. It was possible to discriminate 83% of the glass samples with 99% confidence based on LIBS spectra alone, and 96–99% of the samples could be discriminated based on LIBS spectra taken in conjunction with RI data at the same confidence level. LA-ICP-MS data allowed for 100% discrimination of the samples without the need for RI data. The results provide evidence to support the use of LIBS combined with RI for forensic analysis of float glass in laboratories that do not have access to LA-ICP-MS.
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