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Issue 45, 2019
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Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) in cultural heritage


Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a versatile technique that provides nearly instant elemental analysis of materials, both in the laboratory and in the field. This is done by focusing a short laser pulse on the surface of the sample, or object, studied and analysing the resulting spectrum from the laser-induced plasma. LIBS has been employed in the analysis of archaeological and historical objects, monuments and works of art for assessing the qualitative, semi-quantitative and quantitative elemental content of materials such as pigments, pottery, glass, stone, metals, minerals and fossils. It is also used in robotic planetary rovers. This Technical Brief describes the basic concepts of LIBS, presents relevant aspects of instrumentation and discusses how the technique is applied in the context of cultural heritage studies.

Graphical abstract: Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) in cultural heritage

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Article information

18 Sep 2019
First published
08 Nov 2019

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 5833-5836
Article type
AMC Technical Brief

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) in cultural heritage

Analytical Methods Committee AMCTB No. 91, Anal. Methods, 2019, 11, 5833
DOI: 10.1039/C9AY90147G

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