The performance of a commercial, compact and portable laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) system and a constructed laboratory LIBS system with different experimental approaches were investigated in order to make improvements in the qualitative results. One of the experimental studies pertained to the investigation of the different crystal surfaces of silicon. The second experimental study involved the polarization effects by which the polarization dependency was demonstrated. The third and final experimental study was an unconventional orthogonal double pulse configuration with a 45 degrees angle of incidence for both lasers in opposite directions. By means of these experimental approaches reliable, reproducible results were obtained, relative intensities of the emission lines were enhanced and better signal to noise ratios were observed. Furthermore, the qualitative analysis performance of the commercial system software was compared with the code developed. The code yielded more accurate and precise analysis capability. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.