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Li, H., H. Zang, H. Xu, H.-B. Sun, A. Baltuska, and P. Polynkin.
Global Challenges 3(1):1800070(2019)

Analytical chemistry-based techniques generally are not suitable for rapid monitoring of water bodies because they involve collection of water samples and off-site lab analysis. Laser-based approaches such as laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) might offer a powerful alternative, yet conventional LIBS relies on the use of tightly focused laser beams, requiring a stable air-water interface in a controlled environment. This paper reports a proof-of-principle, quantitative, simultaneous measurement of several representative heavy-metal contaminants in water at ppm-level concentrations, using ultra-intense femtosecond laser pulses propagating in air in the filamentation regime. This approach is straightforwardly extendable to kilometer-scale standoff distances under adverse atmospheric conditions and is insensitive to movements of the water surface due to the topography and water waves. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gch2.201800070

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