High Sensitivity Standoff LIBS Technology

Period of Performance: 01/31/2006 - 01/31/2008


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Spectral Imaging Laboratory
2130 E Walnut Stret
Pasadena, CA -
Principal Investigator


The U.S. Army has the need for a compact, eye safe laser induced breakdown spectrometer (LIBS) capable of detecting explosive residues from a range of 100 meters. In a LIBS system, the laser fires a pulse at a target to create a micro-plasma emission of radiation that can be analyzed by a spectrometer. The LIBS technique has been used extensively to quantify contaminants in metal alloys, paints, and soils. The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has been testing LIBS for the detection of chemical warfare agents, bacterial spores, molds, pollens, and proteins. Commercially available LIBS systems use multiple grating spectrometers to reveal the elemental composition of the target from its 0.2 1 micron wavelength emission signature. The Spectral Imaging Laboratory (SPILAB) proposes the development of a lower cost LIBS system based on a single, high throughput spectrometer module. A breadboard of the new LIBS system was tested successfully during Phase 1 at a range of 100 meters. During Phase 2 SPILAB proposes the development of an eye safe, high beam quality optical parametric oscillator amplifier (OPO-OPA) infrared laser. The new laser will be integrated and tested with an afocal transmitter/receiver optics, the high throughput spectrometer, and an autofocusing LIDAR receiver.