Multi-pulse excitation for underwater analysis of copper-based alloys using a novel remote laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy system

S. Guirado, F.J. Fortes, J.J. Laserna, Applied Spectroscopy, 2016, 70, 618 – 626


In this work, the use of multi-pulse excitation has been evaluated as an effective solution to mitigate the preferential ablation of the most volatile elements, namely Sn, Pb, and Zn, observed during laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) analysis of copper-based alloys. The novel remote LIBS prototype used in this experiments featured both single-pulse (SP-LIBS) and multi-pulse excitation (MP-LIBS). The remote instrument is capable of performing chemical analysis of submersed materials up to a depth of 50 m. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy analysis was performed at air pressure settings simulating the conditions during a real subsea analysis. A set of five certified bronze standards with variable concentration of Cu, As, Sn, Pb, and Zn were used. In SP-LIBS, signal emission is strongly sensitive to ambient pressure. In this case, fractionation effect was observed. Multi-pulse excitation circumvents the effect of pressure over the quantitative analysis, thus avoiding the fractionation phenomena observed in single pulse LIBS. The use of copper as internal standard minimizes matrix effects and discrepancies due to variation in ablated mass.

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