Low-density foam targets for laser induced shock wave propagation experiments were produced via laser direct writing from polymeric materials. These targets were designed with dimensions of 2.0X0.25X0.3mm with a density of 100mg/cm<sup>3</sup> and included a fully polymerized ablation layer, 15μm thick, written contiguously with the low density material in a single fabrication step. We developed a unique protocol in order to assist in the release and harvest of the foam targets from the glass substrate on which they were fabricated. The fabrication process, as well as the assembly and handling of these delicate brittle samples is described in this paper, demonstrating the flexibility, versatility and efficiency of two photon polymerization as fabrication technique that may complement conventional approaches for low density materials fabrication. An ongoing research effort is being conducted in order to reduce to the minimum the content of stitching defects between the target’s building blocks.
A cost effective method for optical emission enhancement in laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has been proposed in this research. The pulsed Nd:YAG laser with a wavelength of 532 nm was used for sample ablation and plasma generation. A cost effective commercial butane micro-torch was put parallel to the sample surface to generate a small flame above the surface. The laser-induced plasma expanded in the flame environment. The time-resolved optical emission intensity and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) have been observed with and without micro torch. For laser with pulse energy of 20 mJ, the relationship between optical emission intensity and delay time indicates that signal intensities have been greatly enhanced in the initial several microseconds when using micro torch. The time-resolved study of signal-to-noise ratio shows that the maximum SNR occurs at the delay time of 2 μs. The laser energy effects on the enhancements of optical emission intensity and SNR have also been analyzed, which indicates that the enhancement factors are both delay time and laser energy dependent. The maximum enhancement factors for both optical emission intensity and SNR gradually decreases with the laser energy increase. The limits of detection (LODs) for aluminum (Al) and molybdenum (Mo) in steel have been estimated, which shows that the detection sensitivity has been improved by around 4 times. The LODs of Al and Mo have been reduced from 18 to 6 ppm and from 110 to 36 ppm in LIBS, respectively. The method of LIBS by a micro torch has been demonstrated to be a cost effective method for detection sensitivity improvement, especially in the situation of low laser pulse energy.