Quantitative fluoride imaging of teeth using CaF emission by laser induced breakdown spectroscopy

Mauro Martinez, G. Jean Harry, Erin N. Haynes, Pi I.D. Lin, Emily Oken, Megan K. Horton, Robert O. Wright, Manish Arora, Christine Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this work, we propose the use of molecular emission of calcium fluoride (CaF) by laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to obtain quantitative fluoride distribution images of teeth. LIBS has proved to be an efficient technique to detect low amounts of fluoride in solids, and human teeth have the advantage being a matrix rich in calcium. We used new calibration material from sintered hydroxyapatite pellets doped with fluoride to determine the optimized LIBS conditions of argon flow at 1 L min−1 and using the green emission bands of CaF in 530 nm, and obtained a calibration curve between 0 and 400 μg g−1, and LOD of 18 μg g−1. This methodology was applied within a rat model of fluoride exposure and showed increasing tooth-fluoride with increased exposure dose. To demonstrate applicability of this method in human teeth, we quantified fluoride distribution in teeth from three children from non-fluorinated and fluorinated water regions. Samples from children living in fluoridated water regions showed higher fluoride concentrations in dentine formed after birth, compared to a child from a non-fluoridated region. Teeth have been used as biomarkers for environmental exposure and this new method opens the opportunity in epidemiology research to study critical windows of early life exposure to fluoride as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-314
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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