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Chapter 9 Laser-assisted solid sampling

DOI: 10.1016/s0167-9244(02)80011-7
  • Chemistry


Publisher Summary This chapter deals with the use of lasers for removal of small portions of solid samples for subsequent elemental analysis. The physico-chemical form in which the material is removed, which dictates the nature of the subsequent steps of the analytical process, has given rise to different atomic techniques using previous laser sampling. Two principal groups of atomic techniques are based on it. In one, known as “laser ablation” (LA), the sample is removed as an aerosol; no excitation of particles, atoms, or ions is pursued in this step but only the formation of sufficient small particles for transport to the atomizer, which can be a plasma source, particularly an inductively coupled plasma (ICP). In the ICP, the ablated material is heated at temperatures above 6000 K, which are high enough to cause breakdown and excitation and/or ionization of the atoms; subsequently, emission lines can be detected on the deactivation of the target elements (LA-ICP-AES), or the species can be allowed to continue its path through the interface and detected using a mass spectrometer. The combination is highly sensitive and limits of detection at the parts-per-billion or even lower is available for almost all elements in the periodic table.

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