Abstract

Using a time-of-flight mass spectrometer, we have measured the threshold for producing ions from various aerosol particles in a vacuum with laser radiation at 248 nm, 308 nm, and 10.6 μm. In addition, a limited amount of similar data were taken at 193 and 337 nm. At 10.6 μm, two thresholds were observed: one near 3 GW/cm2, which corresponds to partial ionization, and another at 6 GW/cm2, which we attribute to plasma formation. At 308 nm, the threshold for ion production is on the order of 200 MW/cm2. Shorter wavelengths require even less energy, with < 100 MW/cm2 yielding normal molecular-mass spectra and approximately 500 MW/cm2 fragmenting the sample to atomic ions.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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