Emission spectra from 1200 Å to 3500 Å have been measured for laser-generated plasmas produced by the focused output (1−4 J/cm2)of a Kr-F excimer.laser onto solid targets of single and multicomponent materials (e.g., Al, Y2O3, BaO, Cu, and YBa2Cu3O7−δ). We have measured the spatial distribution and fluence dependence of the plasma emission. The emission spectra indicated that very large density gradients from the large opacity at the target surface were present. In general, the spectra were dominated by excited neutrals and singly and doubly ionized species. Plasma emission spectra from Al have been analyzed in more detail to derive plasma temperature and density. A plasma temperature of 2 eV and an electronic density of ∼1018/cm3 at 2 J/cm2 was estimated from the relative line intensities. Spatial variation of the total vacuum ultraviolet emission provided evidence for laser absorptionin the ablated material.