Laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) is a spectroscopic technique that involves the excitation of a molecular target by a beam of laser radiation followed by the detection of the subsequent emission of radiation from the target. LIF detection has several advantages over absorption spectroscopy. First, LIF has excellent detection sensitivity because a signal is observed against a dark background. Second, the emitted radiation can be collected at various angles with respect to the incoming laser beam, making it possible to obtain two- and three-dimensional images because the fluorescence is emitted in all directions. Third, by dispersing the fluorescence, it is also possible to learn about the transitions from the state excited to the various lower levels of the target species. Finally, because of the delay between the excitation and detection events, it is also possible to learn about what processes the excited target undergoes in the intervening time.

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