Raman-LIBS spectroscopy combination

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Technology abstract

A Dutch research organization has designed a compact, robust and lightweight Raman-LIBS spectrometer for ESA’s Exomars mission – the first flagship mission of the Aurora program of the European Space Agency (ESA), which aims to characterize the biological environment of the Martian surface. The Raman-LIBS spectrometer was designed to analyze the mineral composition of the Martian soil.

Using the combination of Raman and LIBS spectroscopy, we are able to detect both the elemental composition and the molecular structure of a sample, hence to fully characterize the composition of the sample. Furthermore, the spectrometer is able to detect signals in a large wavelength range, with higher detection accuracy and a lower detection limit than currently available methods.

- Derk Schneemann -

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Technology Description

Raman spectroscopy is a well-known technique to detect the molecular structure of a sample under investigation. The technique is based on the inelastic scattering of the incident light. The wavelength of the scattered photons is used as a fingerprint of the scattering molecules. Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) determines the elemental composition of the sample. A powerful laser beam ablates the surface of the sample, creating a plasma plum. The light emitted from the cooling plasma gives information about the atoms present, and hence about the elemental composition. Because the two techniques are complementary, an instrument using both will have more applications and a better performance than instruments using only one.

Innovations & Advantages

This compact and robust system offers many advantages on Earth. The combination of Raman and LIBS spectroscopy can detect both the elemental composition and the molecular structure of a sample, and hence can fully characterize the composition of the sample. Furthermore, the spectrometer is able to detect signals in a large wavelength range, making the instrument unique for the combination of the two spectroscopic techniques.

Further Information

Mass: 850 g
Size: 185 x 145 x 188 mm
Robustness: Survive instant 70 G, long term: 5 Hz – 2 KHz, 0.5 G
Temperature resistance: -70°C to +70°C
Spectral range: 240 – 840 nm
Resolution: 0.1 nm
 

Current and Potential Domains of Application

  • Mineral characterization and detection
  • (Deep sea) mining
  • Stand-off detection and characterization of explosives
  • (In-line) product inspection
  • Medical applications like molecular diagnostics
  • Forensic sample characterization and comparison