Abstract

Characteristic laser-produced microplasma emissions from various simple carbon-containing vapors entrained in a He carrier gas have been observed and compared. A focused ArF (193-nm) excimer laser is used to induce microplasmas with modest pulse energies (15 mJ or less) in the effluent region of a gas chromatography capillary column. Strong atomic (C, H, O, Cl, and F) as well as molecular (C2, CH, and CCl) emissions are observed with very high SNRs. A plasma emission survey indicates that different classes of molecule show unique spectra which make it relatively easy to distinguish one chemical class from another. These results suggest that a laser microplasma gas chromatography detector (LM-GCD) should offer additional discrimination/resolution for unknown sample gas mixture analysis. In addition, the LM-GCD exhibits a significant advantage over certain other GC detectors, like the widely used flame ionization detector, by readily detecting nonresponsive gases such as CO, CO2, CCl4, and Freons.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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