Abstract

This experiment was carried out to address the need for overcoming the difficulties encountered in hydrogen analysis by means of plasma emission spectroscopy in atmospheric ambient gas. The result of this study on zircaloy-4 samples from a nuclear power plant demonstrates the possibility of attaining a very sharp emission line from impure hydrogen with a very low background and practical elimination of spectral contamination of hydrogen emission arising from surface water and water vapor in atmospheric ambient gas. This was achieved by employing ultrapure ambient helium gas as well as the proper defocusing of the laser irradiation and a large number of repeated precleaning laser shots at the same spot of the sample surface. Further adjustment of the gating time has led to significant reduction of spectral width and improvement of detection sensitivity to 50  ppm. Finally, a linear calibration curve was also obtained for the zircaloy-4 samples with zero intercept. These results demonstrate the feasibility of this technique for practical in situ and quantitative analysis of hydrogen impurity in zircaloy-4 tubes used in a light water nuclear power plant.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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