The influence of sample surface condition on chemical analysis was investigated when using laser ablation sampling with inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). The ablated mass quantity and composition were found to be significantly different from original vs. pre-ablated surfaces. The ablated mass quantity from original surfaces was much greater than that from pre-ablated surfaces, and the ablation rate (mass per unit area and time) was constant or independent of power density below 0.3 GW/cm2. For pre-ablated surfaces, the mass ablation rate follows exponential behavior in the same power density region. The measured composition of the ablated mass was found to be dependent on the surface condition and laser power density, for both original and pre-ablated surfaces. Understanding the influence of laser energy and surface conditions on mass ablation is essential for accurate and precise chemical analysis.
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