Laser Induced Plasma Fluorescence Spectroscopy for the Detection of Heavy Metals

Period of Performance: 01/14/1999 - 07/15/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tacan Corp.
2330 Faraday Ave
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The Army has a need for a fieldable unit that can be use for the detection of depleted uranium with the sensitivity in the several ppm region. The system must operate in adverse conditions and in the presents of un-exploded ordnance. Standard method for the detection of heavy metals, such as atomic adsorption or emission spectroscopy require instrumentation not suitable for field use. In this proposal, we will explore the innovative use of a laser- induced plasmas and fluorescence spectroscopy for the detection of trace amounts of depleted uranium. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy has been employed in the detection of heavy metal contaminates in soils and laser- induced fluorescence has been employed in sensitive detection of heavy metal ions produced in a inductively coupled plasma. Through the novel use of optical fibers and compact solid state light sources and detectors, we shall investigate the design of a field portable heavy metal detector. The system shall consist of a central unit containing the laser excitation sources and the spectral detection units, the compact probe will be linked by optical fibers. We shall also, explore the use of laser-induced plasma as a means of generating metal ions that can be detected by laser-induced fluorescence. BENEFITS: Benefits include: the development of a fieldable unit for the rapid detection of heavy metal species in soil and aqueous matrices. Applications of this development are: monitoring of environmental remediation sites, detection of heavy metals in buildings and structures, monitoring and control of industrial processes.