Reduction of surface charging effects in laser ablation ionisation mass spectrometry through gold coating.

Gruchola, Salome; Riedo, Andreas; Keresztes Schmidt, Peter; de Koning, Coenraad P; Knecht, Luca N; Tulej, Marek; Westall, Frances; Wurz, Peter (2023). Reduction of surface charging effects in laser ablation ionisation mass spectrometry through gold coating. Journal of analytical atomic spectrometry, 38(7), pp. 1372-1378. Royal Society of Chemistry 10.1039/d3ja00078h

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In femtosecond Laser Ablation Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (fs-LIMS) short laser pulses are used to ablate, atomise, and ionise solid sample material shot-by-shot. When ablating non-conductive samples electric charging of the surface can occur. Depending on the geometry of the instrument, the surface charge can influence the spread of the ablation plume and reduce spectral quality. Methods to reduce surface charging were investigated using a non-conductive geological sample and a miniature fs-LIMS system with a co-linear ablation geometry. Pausing five seconds between consecutive laser bursts fired on non-coated material improved the spectral quality by giving surface charges more time to dissipate. However, best mass spectrometric results were achieved after the sample was sputter coated with a thin gold layer, as a conductive sample surface hinders charge build-up. Consequently, gold coating allowed operation of the laser system at much higher laser pulse energies improving sensitivity and reliability. It also removed the need to pause between laser bursts, speeding up the measurement acquisition.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS

UniBE Contributor:

Gruchola, Salome Noemi, Riedo, Andreas, Keresztes Schmidt, Peter, de Koning, Coenraad Pieter, Knecht, Luca Nicolas, Tulej, Marek, Wurz, Peter


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




Royal Society of Chemistry




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

10 Jul 2023 12:25

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2023 12:34

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