Early stage expansion and time-resolved spectral emission of laser-induced plasma from polymer
In the nanosecond laser ablation regime, absorption of laser energy by the plasma during its early stage expansion critically influences the properties of the plasma and thus its interaction with ambient air. These influences can significantly alter spectral emission of the plasma. For organic samples especially, recombination of the plasma with the ambient air leads to interfering emissions with respect to emissions due to native species evaporated from the sample. Distinguishing interfering emissions due to ambient air represents a critical issue for the application of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to the analysis of organic materials. In this paper, we report observations of early stage expansion and interaction with ambient air of the plasma induced on a typical organic sample (nylon) using timeresolved shadowgraph. We compare, in the nanosecond ablation regime, plasmas induced by infrared (IR) laser pulses (1064 nanometers) and ultraviolet (UV) laser pulses (266 nanometers). Nanosecond ablation is compared with femtosecond ablation where the post-ablation interaction is absent. Subsequent to the early stage expansion, we observe for each studied ablation regime, spectral emission from CN, a typical radical for organic and biological samples. Time-resolved LIBS allows identifying emissions from native molecular species and those due to recombination with ambient air through their different time evolution behaviors.