Method for determining the concentration of atomic species in gases and solids. Measurement of at least two emission intensities from a species in a sample that is excited by incident laser radiation. Which generates a plasma therein after a sufficient time period has elapsed and during a second time period, permits an instantaneous temperature to be established within the sample. The concentration of the atomic species to be determined is then derived from the known emission intensity of a predetermined concentration of that species in the sample at the measured temperature, a quantity which is measured prior to the determination of the unknown concentration, and the actual measured emission from the unknown species, or by this latter emission and the emission intensity of a species having known concentration within the sample such as nitrogen for gaseous air samples.
The invention was made with government support under DOE grant No. DE-FG02-94ER81671 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Laser Diagnostics L.L.C, a New Mexico Company. The government has certain rights in the invention.