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Rapid Analyses of Tiny Amounts of Powder Samples Using Transversely Excited Atmospheric CO2 Laser- Induced Helium Gas Plasma with the Aid of High-Vacuum Silicon Grease as a Binder on a Metal Subtarget

Volume 65, Number 2 (Feb. 2011) Page 236-241


Rapid quantitative analyses of powder samples available in tiny amounts have successfully been conducted by utilizing a transversely excited atmospheric (TEA) CO2 laser-induced He gas plasma. In this study, 4 mg of powder sample was homogeneously mixed with 4 mg of high-vacuum silicon grease and the silicon grease–mixed powder sample (SMP) was painted on a metal surface, which serves as a subtarget. The grease functions to strongly bind the powder and to suppress blow-off of the powder particles. When a TEA CO2 laser (750 mJ, 10.6 μm, 200 ns) was directly focused on the metal subtarget in He gas at 1 atmosphere, a high-temperature He gas plasma was induced, producing a profusion of metastable He atoms. It is assumed that the powder particles together with the silicon grease were vaporized to be effectively atomized and excited through metastable He atoms. The result revealed that this technique can be widely employed in the rapid semi-quantitative analyses of powder samples present in minute amounts. A quantitative analysis of loam soil containing different concentrations of Cu was successfully demonstrated, resulting in a good linear calibration curve. The detection limits of Cr and Pb in loam soil were approximately 4 and 13 mg/kg, respectively. Also, we confirmed that this technique can be applied to check the quality of commercial products such as gold film (Au foil), mineral supplement tablets, and prestigious cosmetic powders.

Index Headings: Powder analysis; Small powder samples; Silicon grease– mixed powder sample; Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy; LIBS; TEA CO2 laser; Laser-induced helium gas plasma; Metastable He atoms.