SciAps has developed a handheld analyzer based on laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). The analyzer possesses a patent pending high resolution (<100 pm) spectrometer that spans 184 nm to 675 nm, with the ability to reach as low as 175 nm. The analyzer is therefore configurable to measure any groups of elements in the periodic table. The analyzer contains a renewable, high efficiency argon purge for measurements in the deep UV (<200 nm) and improved limits of detection (LOD) for all elements, if needed for the application.
We have miniaturized LIBS technology. Our technique utilizes an eye-safe laser source operating at 1534 nm rather than the more standard 1064 nm. It operates at 5 mJ and is pulsed at 10 Hz. This choice yields a Class 1 designation greatly minimizing regulatory requirements while also providing greatly improved LODs compared to micro-LIBS. The laser light is focused down to a <50 um spot to produce a bright plasma at the sample surface. The spectrometer is gated to reject the large amount of background radiation emitted in the early stage of the plasma. As the plasma cools, emissions become dominated by electrons returning to discrete states in the various atoms, thus yielding photons with characteristic energies (that is, colors) that are used to identify and quantity specific elements. The region around the plasma is (optionally) argon-purged with a novel technique that allows a full day operation using a replaceable argon cartridge located in the instrument handle (patent pending). The argon purge combined with spectrometer gating improves the limits of detection by a factor of 10–50× depending on the element. Elements in the deep UV such as carbon (193 nm) benefit the most.
In summary, a novel handheld LIBS spectrometer has been developed to identify and quantify elemental concentrations in a variety of sample types. The combination of a) a wide range, high resolution spectrometer, b) a gated and argon purged spectrometer, and c) a high powered, lower rep rate laser yields a tool to quantitatively measure any element in the periodic table with a handheld device.
2 Constitution Way, Woburn, MA 01801
tel. (339) 927-9455