• Laser and Plasma Spectroscopy Research Group Our research focus is on the development of instrumentation and specific methodologies to analyze innovative materials
  • Research group with expertise in Applied Spectroscopy We are open to collaborations with academy and industry


The Laser and Plasma Spectroscopy Research Group is dedicated to the development and characterization of new instrumentation and methodologies for the analyses of innovative materials and compounds, using atomic spectroscopic techniques based on optical emission spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. In particular, we are a multidisciplinary research group with know-how in different spectroscopic techniques, including glow discharge time-of-flight mass spectrometry, flowing atmospheric pressure afterglow, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, laser induced breakdown spectroscopy, or solution cathode glow discharge.

Areas of Know-How

Laser and Plasma Spectroscopy Research Group is working on several research lines:

  • LIBS

Atmospheric Pressure Glow Discharge Spectroscopy (APGDS)

GELP’s experience in Glow Discharges opened the door to the design, characterization and study of the analytical potential of Atmospheric-Pressure Glow Discharges (APGD). In the last years, this kind of glow discharges have revolutionized the ionization sources available in the market. APGD’s are non-expensive, fast and easy-to-use sources due to the low need for sample preparation and the lack of vacuum systems to sustain the discharge. Latest works at GELP in this area have been focused on the study of the species generated through several sources designed in the group, having demonstrated the usefulness of this ionization sources as they offer robust, stable results. Currently, GELP studies the use of APGD sources for the analysis of gaseous samples containing organic and other volatile compounds, as well as the effect of said samples on the generated plasma.

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Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS)

LA-ICP-MS analyses have a recent impact in the development of paleoclimate investigations because of the high accurate geochemical data provided, with spatial resolutions close to 10 mm. This high accurate data allows paleoclimate investigators to characterize seasonal climate variability of the past, which have no precedents before this analytical method. This method with so high spatial resolved data, also allows to determinate extremely climate events, a very important discipline of climate studies in the recent fast climate change scenario. This information is of great importance for the reproduction of the future climate scenarios by the climate models.

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Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)

One of the plasma generation procedures handled by the research group is the use of high intensity pulsed lasers. The LIBS technique, acronym for Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, is based on the analysis of laser-generated plasmas and its origin dates back to the decade of the 1960s, in parallel with the appearance of the first lasers. LIBS is used for the detection and quantification of chemical elements in all types of samples, regardless of their state of aggregation, since its application is common either on solid, liquid and gaseous samples. LIBS represents a versatile technique that implies a low-cost implementation, proving to be a promising technique called to compete in certain sectors against traditional detection systems.

Research Lines

GELP currently develops two LIBS-based research lines, the first one seeks to obtain fundamental information of the plasmas, and the other one investigates the application and tuning of the technique for industrial or mining purposes.

  • Fundamental research.

    The aim of this area regards the physical properties of generated LIBS plasmas, such as their size and symmetry, temperatures, electronic densities or distribution of chemical species inside them.

  • Applied research.

    Based on the fundamental knowledge of the plasmas, new methods are developed enabling LIBS to detect and quantify certain chemical elements, whose determination may be of interest in certain areas. Current worksare focused on the detection and quantification of halogens through molecular emission, compositional mapping of solids or online and portable detection systems development.

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Pulsed Glow Discharge Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (PGD-TOFMS)

GELP group has a long experience in the field of low pressure glow discharges (GD) coupled to both, optical and mass spectrometry. The investigations carried out by the group members in this topic include instrumental developments, fundamental studies about the plasma processes and development of analytical applications.

In the last years, the research activity of GELP in low pressure GD include the study and optimization of a Radiofrequency Glow Discharge Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (RF-GD-TOFMS) prototype developed in the frame the European project “New Elemental and Molecular Materials by Modulated RF-GD-TOFMS (EMPDA)”.These investigations have been focused on the improvement of the GD source design and the study of the capabilities of the pulsed operation mode for depth profiling of a great variety solid samples.

In addition, the GD has been explored as ionization source for the analysis ofgaseous samples. Particularly, the group has been working in the development of new interfaces optimised for the introduction of gaseous samples in the GD plasma. Currently, GELP is investigating an interface improved for the obtainment of molecular information in the analysis of gaseous samples containing volatile compounds by RF-GD-TOFMS.

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Sample Text

Solution Cathode Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy (SC-GD-OES)

Glow Discharges operating at atmospheric pressure have shown a strong analytical potential for the fast analysis of liquids. In particular, the electrolyte-cathode atmospheric glow discharge (ELCAD) or Solution Cathode Glow Discharge (SCGD) is an alternative source for a fast elemental analysis of liquids.

In essence, ELCAD,introduced by Cserfalvi et al.[1] in 1993, is a conically shaped GD microplasma with 3-4 mm base diameter and 3 mm height, operating between an electrolytic solution cathode and a metal (tungsten) rod anode under ~1 kV plasma voltage and 70 mA discharge current (see Figure 1). In ELCAD/SCGD, the electrolytic solution serves as the sample, just as the solid cathode does in conventional, low-pressure glow discharges. ELCAD has important advantages over conventional, nebulization-based analytical techniques, e.g., inductively coupled plasma (ICP)-OES/MS, which are extensively used as reference techniques for inorganic analysis. ICP-OES/MS requires high power (>1 kW) and gas (>15 L min-1 Ar) consumption, along with the need for vacuum equipment in the case of ICP-MS. These operating conditions effectively tie ICP-OES/MS to the laboratory. As an alternative, ELCAD has a small footprint, low power consumption (75 W), and operates in atmospheric pressure air [2].


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Group Members & Collaborators


The Laser and Plasma Spectroscopy Research Group (Grupo de Espectroscopia Láseres y Plasmas – GELP) was founded in 2010 by Dr. Nerea Bordel (Leader of the group) and Dr. Jorge Pisonero (Deputy-leader), both former members of Prof. Alfredo Sanz-Medel’s research group at University of Oviedo. More information about current members (including Professors, PhD&Master Students, Undergraduate students and Technicians), ex-member and visitors can be found on the links on the right.

PhD, Masters & Undergraduate
PhD, Masters & Undergraduate
Former members
Former members
Visitors & Collaborators
Visitors & Collaborators


Jorge Pisonero is doing a short stay (May 2019) as Visiting Professor at Sichuan University in Chengdu (China)....
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Jonatan Fandiño was awarded a Poster Prize at the 2019 Winter Conference on Plasma Spectroscopy that was held...
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Dr. Jorge Pisonero has been awarded, by the Principality of Asturias, with a fellowship to do a short stay...
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