A LIBS (laser induced breakdown spectroscopy) spectrometer constructed by the instructor is reported for use in undergraduate analytical chemistry experiments. The modular spectrometer described here is based on commonly available components including a commercial Nd:YAG laser and a compact UV–vis spectrometer. The modular approach provides a flexible arrangement that allows the use of the components in other experimental techniques, such as Raman spectroscopy and measurement of lifetimes of excited states. Integrating LIBS into the undergraduate analytical chemistry curriculum gives students experience with this important, emerging analytical method as well as hands-on experience with this common type of laser. Finally, experiments in which the LIBS spectrometer is used in both upper- and lower-division chemistry courses as well as a use for forensic chemistry are outlined.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_randall/1/