The Z-903: The Entire Periodic Table of Elements…in Seconds

  • Corporate, Research or Government Laboratory

  • Academic Lab and Field Research, and a Teaching Tool.

Materials Science — Chemistry — Geological and Ocean Sciences – Physics – Archeology

Meet the Z: The world’s premier handheld LIBS (Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy) analyzer featuring the most advanced technology ever created in a handheld elemental analyzer. The Z-903’s spectrometer range covers 190 nm – 950 nm. It offers instant analysis of every element in the Periodic Table, for nearly all materials, anywhere on the planet. The analyzer features pre-configured Apps for specific applications (alloys, geochem, etc.). Or users may create their own custom analysis models, element lists, and calibrations. The Z-903 includes a full-featured desktop or tablet software package with spectral pre-processing, chemo-metrics, emission line identification for any element and quantitative calibration setup. The Z handheld LIBS is perfect for the lab, the classroom and the field.

Analyze Many Elements Never Before Tested with a Portable Instrument:

  • Low atomic number elements: H, Li, Be, B, C, N, O, Na, Si, P and S*.

  • Halogens:  F, Cl, Br

  • Light metals and elements:  Mg, Al, Si, P, S, K, Ca and more.

  • Transition, heavy and rare earth elements (REE’s).

*S is available for custom spectrometer extended to 930 nm.


  • Incoming laboratory samples – Quickly pre-screen to get qualitative or quantitative list of elements present, and approximate concentration ranges, prior to digestion.

  • A great tool for field studies, for instant analysis of any elements present in geochem, archeology and/or forensics samples, others.

  • Rapid elemental pre-screen of materials prior to laboratory analysis.

  • Perform the all the types of analysis of typical benchtop LIBS instrument but with a lightweight, handheld device that utilizes an easy to use and intuitive software package”

The Technology

The Z features our proprietary wide range, high resolution spectrometer stack design.Both standard and extended range versions are available:

Standard range

  • 190 nm – 625 nm

Extended range

  • 190 nm – 850 nm (Adds elements H, N, O, F, Cl, Br, Rb, Ce, improved K)

  • 190 nm – 930 nm (required to measure sulfur)

Shown at above are the main Mg lines easily resolved at 179.6 nm and 280.3 nm, respectively.

Opti-Purge™ Argon Purge Technology

The Z is the only handheld LIBS that offers both argon and air-based operation It is well established that operating in an argon gas atmosphere increases the LIBS signal by 5x-10x or more, depending upon wavelength. Users can optionally operate the Z with it’s on-board argon supply enabled. If you don’t need the precision or sensitivity, simply turn it off. The cost of the argon is approximately 1₵ per test.

The Z has a replaceable argon cartridge inside the handle, with on-board regulator. Simply unscrew the used cartridge and replace. Helium gas also available for enhanced halogen analysis

As shown spectrally, in an argon environment rather than air, signals are many times larger, thus yielding superior analytical performance.

PULSAR Laser Technology

The Z’s laser technology is at the forefront of handheld LIBS. The laser offers high pulse energy of 5-6 mJ/pulse with a narrow time duration of 1 ns – critical for the most sensitive LIBS analysis. It’s patented design combines both stationary, repeated “cleaning shots” and XY rastering with results averaging. The design is critical for samples with surface contamination, like real world alloys, and thus eliminates the need to grind or prep the materials. In a typical configuration for metals, the Z will fire cleaning shots at a 50 Hz frequency for 0.2 s followed by data gathering shots at 10 Hz. The analyzer will then move the laser to the next location and repeat. All of these settings are pre-configured for specific applications such as metals or geochemical samples. Operators may also customize such settings for their specific materials.

Sophisticated Laser Rastering and Sample Cleaning

The Z combines an XY user-controllable laser raster along with integrated high-resolution camera. For heterogeneous samples, users may setup and view the raster pattern, to analyze only specific zones within a sample.

For homogeneous (bulk) samples, the best LIBS results are obtained when the laser beam is moved to multiple locations on the sample, and averages the results over multiple locations. The Z was designed with a computer controlled XY stage to move the laser beam in two dimensions and automatically rasters and averages data.

What is cleaning? The Z may be configured to fire multiple laser shots at the same location, thus burning off surface contamination including dirt, oils, corrosion, etc., prior to data-taking shots.   Subsequent laser shots at the same location are used for elemental analysis. The Z is totally user-settable for one or more cleaning shots, followed by repeat data shots, and XY rastering to a new location on the sample. For many samples, cleaning shots are critical to obtaining repeatable, precise analysis.

For a rock sample, for example, the user can view the sample from the integrated camera, and customize the raster pattern to perform LIBS analysis over a specific region.

Spectrometer Gating

The Z may be operated in either a gated or ungated mode. For the most quantitative analysis, gating is the recommended operation because it largely eliminates the Brehmstrahlung background produced by the early stages of the plasma. By reducing the background, the signal—to—noise (SNR) is enhanced, yielding both better limits of detection and higher precision.

For some operations, operators only care about maximizing total intensities. In these cases, the Z may be operated (and calibrated) in ungated mode. For some Apps, calibrations are provided for both gated and ungated operation. Please inquire with SciAps.

Shown are a gated and ungated spectrum from the same material. Note that the gated spectrum exhibits far lower background, thus improving the SNR and allowing for lower limits of detection. The ungated signal is substantially higher (as is the background). Ungated operation is best used for higher concentration analysis where speed rather than precision is desired

An Android, App-Based Software Platform

The Z runs on the Android operating system. Various calibrations are easily added as independent Apps, much like a Smartphone. Have a custom application? Use the SciAps Empirical App, and the included ProfileBuilder desktop software, to create your own calibrations and testing methods for any element, in virtually any material. In the near future we’ll be offering additional Apps via our web-site, and the ability for users to create and share their own testing methods via their own Apps.

Check Out Our Element Pro App

Element Pro includes an on-board library of LIBS emission lines for every stable element in the periodic table. Simply shoot a sample, and get a list of elements present, based on the Z’s peak finding algorithm. Element Pro also provides a qualitative estimate of relative abundance based on measured line strengths in a variety of materials. Tap on an element to get a zoomed spectral view identifying the lines present. Element Pro is an ideal App for quickly testing materials to discover elements present, without the need for quantitative calibrations.

Calibration and Method Software

Want to quantify results?
ProfileBuilder delivers all the tools you need.

The Z is more than just a handheld spectrometer. It also offers full calibration and method development software.   Run it on a PC, a laptop or a tablet. Locate elemental lines after testing samples, calculate intensities and intensity ratios, perform spectral overlays, baseline subtractions and smoothing.Also generate calibration methods using reference samples with known assays. The Z offers on-board or on the Tablet/PC capability for polynomial calibration fits.

Report Generation and Data Management

Google-Powered! The Z is built on the Android Platform to defy obsolescence and provide easy report generation and data management.  Tap the SHARE icon and instantly print a test report. Or send it to your cell phone via the on-board wireless and email the data anywhere in the world. The Z is Wireless, Bluetooth and GPS enabled, and Android delivers easy connectivity to any device – phone, tablet, PC, server.

Have An Academic Application?

We frequently loan handheld LIBS units for a few weeks or a month to academic researchers from the U.S. and Canada, so that they can perform a study or field analysis anywhere in the world. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy is often a preferred technique, especially for students, since operators do not have to deal with the regulatory complexities of X-ray fluorescence analyzers. And our accompanying ProfileBuilder software provides operators complete freedom to modify laser and spectrometer parameters and generate their own calibrations. You’re not limited to factory-imposed calibrations or unchangeable multi-variant techniques.

Contact us ( with a brief description of what you want to measure. As your work progresses, we’d appreciate continued updates. Don’t worry, we understand that you can’t compromise a future publication. On an as-available basis, we’ll get you the analyzer, train you at a regularly scheduled time (often via GoTo Meeting or Skype but in-person works too). The goal is to raise awareness of the amazing world of applications available to handheld LIBS and XRF. Please note at this time we must limit the loaner program to researchers working at U.S. and Canadian institutions. However, researchers from these countries may travel globally with the analyzer.

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