Abstract

We have conducted an experimental study exploring the possible application of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for practical and highly sensitive detection of metal impurities in water. The spectrochemical measurements were carried out by means of a 355 nm Nd-YAG laser within N2 and He gas at atmospheric pressures as high as 2 kPa. The aqueous samples were prepared as thin films deposited on indium-tin oxide (ITO) glass by an electrolysis process. The resulting emission spectra suggest that concentrations at parts per billion levels may be achieved for a variety of metal impurities, and it is hence potentially feasible for rapid inspection of water quality in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries, as well as for cooling water inspection for possible leakage of radioactivity in nuclear power plants. In view of its relative simplicity, this LIBS equipment offers a practical and less costly alternative to the standard use of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for water samples, and its further potential for in situ and mobile applications.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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