Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS)

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is an elemental analytical technique with the ability to detect and quantify elemental composition (both heavy and light elements) in a solid, liquid or even gas state. LIBS involves the creation of a high temperature plasma above the sample. This plasma is created by laser pulse from a laser source. When the micron-sized laser beam is focused onto the sample surface, a small volume (micrograms) of the sample mass is ablated. When the laser pulse/plasma creation is complete, the plasma starts to cool. It’s during this process that the electrons of the atoms and ions at the excited electronic states fall down into natural ground states. This causes the plasma to emit light with characteristic spectral peaks. The emitted light is collected and transmitted to the spectrometer/CCD package for LIBS analysis. Each element in the periodic table has a number of unique LIBS’ spectral peaks. These peaks are collected and integrated to calculate concentration of materials, such as metal alloys.

LIBS, unlike the other popular analytical technique of X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), is inherently more sensitive and better suited for light element detection - such as aluminum (Al), lithium (Li), magnesium (Mg), and beryllium (Be). However, reliable LIBS analysis of materials with these elements, especially at the point-of-need, has been very limited and typically confined to a laboratory environment - until now. Recent technological advancements, such as miniature, solid state micro-lasers as well as small, compact spectrometers have made the design of handheld LIBS possible and rapidly expanded the use of this versatile technique into field operations - such as alloy sorting and analysis. Its ability to analyze light elements in the field translates into the identification of even more metals and alloys than afforded by traditional use of XRF for this application.

Katana utilizes cutting-edge Breakthrough Laser Ablation & Detection Engine (BLADE) technology in the most advanced handheld platform available today. In less than a second its laser engine generates plasma of material ablated from sample, the spectrum of which is measured and then characterized by the instrument’s processor to quantify the elemental composition of sample. Katana’s best-in-class identification algorithm determines the grade of tested alloy by match to the alloy grade library, and displays it along with the percentages of the individual elements found. Katana’s intuitive user interface is designed for maximum convenience and productivity. After powering on and logging in, Katana is immediately ready for analysis without any additional settings.

Handheld LIBS Benefits

  • FAST testing times
  • NO radiation licensing
  • SUPERIOR light element capabilities – especially Al and Mg alloys
  • NO sample preparation

Discover how to improve your metal analysis with cutting-edge handheld LIBS – only in Katana.


Katana   Katana
The latest in handheld metal analysis. designed for on-the-spot identification of the most difficult alloy grades.