Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)

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The Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument onboard Chandrayaan-3 Rover confirms the presence of Sulphur (S) on the lunar surface.

About Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS):

  • This instrument has made the first-ever in-situ measurements on the elemental composition of the lunar surface near the South Pole.
  • How does this work? 
    • It is a scientific technique that analyzes the composition of materials by exposing them to intense laser pulses.
    • A high-energy laser pulse is focused onto the surface of a material, such as a rock or soil.
    • The laser pulse generates extremely hot and localized plasma.
    • The collected plasma light is spectrally resolved and detected by detectors such as Charge Coupled Devices.
    • Since each element emits a characteristic set of wavelengths of light when it's in a plasma state, the elemental composition of the material is determined.
  • Key findings: Preliminary analyses, graphically represented, have unveiled the presence of Aluminum (Al), Sulphur (S), Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Chromium (Cr), and Titanium (Ti) on the lunar surface. Further measurements have revealed the presence of manganese (Mn), silicon (Si), and oxygen (O).
  • The evidence of the presence of Sulphur can reveal insights on the formation and evolution of the Moon.
  • Sulphur usually originates in volcanic activities, and its presence on the Moon can offer indications about the Moon’s history and composition.
  • LIBS payload is developed at the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS)/ISRO, Bengaluru.


Q1) What is Spectroscopy?

Spectroscopy is the study of the absorption and emission of light and other radiation by matter. It involves the splitting of light (or more precisely electromagnetic radiation) into its constituent wavelengths (a spectrum), which is done in much the same way as a prism splits light into a rainbow of colours. 

Source: LIBS confirms the presence of Sulphur (S) on the lunar surface through unambiguous in-situ measurements