A recent NETL study demonstrated that laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) technology can provide a cost-effective, rapid and precise method for determining the elemental composition of organic-rich shales like the Marcellus Shale formation, the largest reservoir of natural gas in the Appalachian basin. This characterization work is paving the way for producers to begin rapidly targeting resources with greater accuracy. LIBS is a versatile and rapidly advancing analytical technique that can detect concentrations of all known elements and requires minimal sample preparation. The technology works by creating a high-intensity pulse of light that is focused on a sample. This produces a spark of light in all directions, made up of atomic emissions from the different elements found in the sample. This light is then analyzed by a spectrometer for elemental composition.