Practical Experience and Fireworks – The Thrill of Discovering


Full of excitement for the first hands-on experience on Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) measurements, we recently welcomed Joachim, Heinrich, and Volker from LSA at our RHI Magnesita Technology Center in Leoben. With them, two huge wooden boxes arrived, delivered by a shipping company. The boxes contained a LIBS demo system that was set up at our facility and was available to us for three weeks of test measurements. As the boxes were carefully opened, anticipation filled the air. LIBS is a cutting-edge analytical technique that offers unique insights into the elemental composition of materials. The system utilizes focused laser pulses to create a micro plasma on the material’s surface, causing it to emit light. This emitted light is then analyzed with a spectrometer to identify the elemental composition of the sample.

The LSA team gave us a comprehensive training, so we can use these tools professionally to study our refractory material and to create the baseline for a fully automated sorting system. With these measurements the system should be able to recognize target specifications of pursued sorting classes, so we chose to train with a variety of raw materials and brick types used in the steel and cement industry. The outcome of our test runs were a qualitative overview about the response of the LIBS signals to the different sample types. Combining LSA’s expertise in LIBS technology with our in-depth knowledge of refractory materials proved to be the bedrock of our success. Their wealth of experience not only accelerated our understanding of LIBS but also provided valuable insights into optimizing the technique for our specific needs. Together we were determined to unlock the full potential of LIBS and its application in our industry.

Beyond the technical marvel and scientific significance, our practical experience with LIBS measurements has been an exhilarating journey. Watching the laser beam strike the sample like dazzling fireworks, filled us with awe. The sparks emitted during the process fueled our curiosity and passion for material science. Embracing this spectacle of science, we are motivated to explore further, pushing boundaries, and fostering collaborations that illuminate our path ahead. Stay tuned for more information about the progress we make!

ReSoURCE - Katja Goetschl

Author’s Portrait

Katja Goetschl

Dr. Katja Goetschl studied Geosciences at the Graz University of Technology, specializing in the field of Experimental Geochemistry and the fundamentals of CaCO3 mineral (trans)formation. She joined RHI Magnesita as Pioneer Research Associate in 01/2023.

ReSoURCE - Katja Goetschl

Katja Goetschl


Katja is a Pioneer Research Associate at RHI Magnesita.