Development of Alternative Plasma Sources For Cavity Ring-Down Measurements of Mercury

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Physics and Astronomy


We have been exploring innovative technologies for elemental and hyperfine structure measurements using cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) combined with various plasma sources. A laboratory CRDS system utilizing a tunable dye laser is employed in this work to demonstrate the feasibility of the technology. An in-house fabricated sampling system is used to generate aerosols from solution samples and introduce the aerosols into the plasma source. The ring-down signals are monitored using a photomultiplier tube and recorded using a digital oscilloscope interfaced to a computer. Several microwave plasma discharge devices are tested for mercury CRDS measurement. Various discharge tubes have been designed and tested to reduce background interference and increase the sample path length while still controlling turbulence generated from the plasma gas flow. Significant background reduction has been achieved with the implementation of the newly designed tube-shaped plasma devices, which has resulted in a detection limit of 0.4 ng/mL for mercury with the plasma source CRDS. The calibration curves obtained in this work readily show that linearity over 2 orders of magnitude can be obtained with plasma-CRDS for mercury detection. In this work, the hyperfine structure of mercury at the experimental plasma temperatures is clearly identified. We expect that plasma source cavity ring-down spectroscopy will provide enhanced capabilities for elemental and isotopic measurements.

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Analytical Chemistry





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