Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry for Molecules Formation Chemistry in Femtosecond-Laser Ablated Plasmas
Recently, laser ablated molecular isotopic spectrometry (LAMIS) has expanded its capability to explore molecules formation mechanism in laser-induced plasma in addition to isotope analysis. LAMIS is a powerful tool for tracking the origination of atoms that is involved in formation of investigated molecules by labeling atoms with their isotopic substitution. The evolutionary formation pathways of organic molecules, especially of C2 dimers and CN radicals, were frequently reported. However, very little is known about the formation pathways for metallic radicals and heterodimers in laser ablated plasma. This research focuses on elucidating the formation pathways of AlO radicals in femtosecond laser ablated plasma from 18O-labeled Al2O3 pellet. Plasmas expanding with strong forward bias in the direction normal to the sample surface were generated in the wake of a weakly ionized channel created by a femtosecond laser. The formation mechanism of AlO and influence of air were investigated with multiple plasma diagnostic methods such as monochromatic fast gating imaging, spatiotemporal resolved optical emission spectroscopy, and LAMIS. An advanced LAMIS fitting procedure was used to deduce the spatiotemporal distributions of Al18O and Al16O number densities and also their ratios. We found that the Al16O/Al18O number density ratio is higher for plasma portion closer to the sample surface, which suggests that chemical reactions between the plasma plume and ambient air are more intense at the tail of the plasma. The results also reveals that direct association of free Al and O atoms is the main mechanism for the formation of AlO at the early stage of the plasma. To the contrast, chemical reactions between plasma materials and ambient oxygen molecules and the isotope exchange effect are the dominant mechanisms of the formation of AlO and evolution of Al16O/Al18O number density ratio at the late stage of the plasma.