Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Detection limits of organic compounds achievable with intense, short-pulse lasers

Miles, Jordan; De Camillis, Simone; Alexander, Grace; Hamilton, Kathryn; Kelly, Thomas J.; Costello, John T.; Zepf, Matthew; Williams, Ian D.; Greenwood, Jason B.


Jordan Miles

Simone De Camillis

Grace Alexander

Kathryn Hamilton

Thomas J. Kelly

John T. Costello

Matthew Zepf

Ian D. Williams

Jason B. Greenwood


Many organic molecules have strong absorption bands which can be accessed by ultraviolet short pulse lasers to produce efficient ionization. This resonant multiphoton ionization scheme has already been exploited as an ionization source in time-of-flight mass spectrometers used for environmental trace analysis. In the present work we quantify the ultimate potential of this technique by measuring absolute ion yields produced from the interaction of 267 nm femtosecond laser pulses with the organic molecules indole and toluene, and gases Xe, N2 and O2. Using multiphoton ionization cross sections extracted from these results, we show that the laser pulse parameters required for real-time detection of aromatic molecules at concentrations of one part per trillion in air and a limit of detection of a few attomoles are achievable with presently available commercial laser systems. The potential applications for the analysis of human breath, blood and tissue samples are discussed.


Miles, J., De Camillis, S., Alexander, G., Hamilton, K., Kelly, T. J., Costello, J. T., …Greenwood, J. B. (2015). Detection limits of organic compounds achievable with intense, short-pulse lasers. Analyst, 140(12), 4270-4276.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jul 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 19, 2016
Journal Analyst
Print ISSN 0003-2654
Electronic ISSN 1364-5528
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 140
Issue 12
Pages 4270-4276
Keywords Multiphoton ionization
Public URL
Publisher URL!divAbstract
Additional Information This is the authors accepted manuscript of an article published in: Analyst, 2015, v.140 issue 12.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations