Effects of Plume Hydrodynamics and Oxidation on the Composition of a Condensing Laser-Induced Plasma


High-temperature chemistry in laser ablation plumes leads to vapor-phase speciation, which can induce chemical fractionation during condensation. Using emission spectroscopy acquired after ablation of a SrZrO3 target, we have experimentally observed the formation of multiple molecular species (ZrO and SrO) as a function of time as the laser ablation plume evolves. Although the stable oxides SrO and ZrO2 are both refractory, we observed emission from the ZrO intermediate at earlier times than SrO. We deduced the time-scale of oxygen entrainment into the laser ablation plume using an 18O2 environment by observing the in-growth of Zr18O in the emission spectra relative to Zr16O, which was formed by reaction of Zr with 16O from the target itself. Using temporally resolved plume-imaging, we determined that ZrO formed more readily at early times, volumetrically in the plume, while SrO formed later in time, around the periphery. Using a simple temperature-dependent reaction model, we have illustrated that the formation sequence of these oxides subsequent to ablation is predictable to first order.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry A