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Temporal and Spatial Evolution of a Laser-Induced Plasma from a Steel Target

Volume 57, Number 6 (June 2003) Page 715-721

Corsi, M.; Cristoforetti, G.; Hidalgo, M.; Iriarte, D.; Legnaioli, S.; Palleschi, V.; Salvetti, A.; Tognoni, E.

The space and time evolution of a laser-induced plasma from a steel target has been studied using optical time-of-flight and shadowgraphic techniques. The results, obtained for two distinct laser energy regimes, allow us to individuate two different regions in the plume, one characterized by air and continuum emissions produced by the shock wave ionization and the other characterized by emissions from ablated material. Moreover, it was shown that a sufficiently high laser fluence and short delay time of acquisition are needed to avoid inhomogeneous effects in the plasma, as required in analytical applications such as laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy.