The agglomeration state of nanosecond laser-generated aerosol particles entering the ICP

Hans Rudolf Kuhn, Detlef Günther*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)


    Fundamental understanding of aerosol formation and particle transport are important aspects of understanding and improving laser-ablation ICP-MS. To obtain more information about particles entering the ICP, laser aerosols generated under different ablation conditions were collected on membrane filters. The particles and agglomerates were then visualised using scanning electron microscope (SEM) imaging. To determine variations between different sample matrices, opaque (USGS BCR-2G) and transparent (NIST SRM 610) glass, CaF2, and brass (MBH B26) samples were ablated using two different laser wavelengths, 193 and 266 nm. This study showed that the condensed nano-particles ( ∼ 10 nm in diameter) formed by laser ablation reach the ICP as micron-sized agglomerates; this is apparent from filters which contain only a few well-separated particles and particle agglomerates. Ablation experiments on different metals and non-metals show that the structure of the agglomerates is matrix-dependent. Laser aerosols generated from silicates and metals form linear agglomerates whereas particle-agglomerates of ablated CaF2 have cotton-like structures. Amongst other conditions, this study shows that the absorption characteristics of the sample and the laser wavelength determine the production of micron-sized spherical particles formed by liquid droplet ejection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)434-441
    Number of pages8
    JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


    • Aerosol transport
    • Laser-ablation ICP-MS
    • Particle agglomeration
    • Particles


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