Abstract

The ability of oceanographers to make sustained measurements of ocean processes is limited by the number of available sensors for long-term in situ analysis. In recent years, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has been identified as a viable technique to develop into an oceanic chemical sensor. We performed single pulse laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy of high pressure bulk aqueous solutions to detect three analytes (sodium, manganese, and calcium) that are of key importance in hydrothermal vent fluids, an ocean environment that would greatly benefit from the development of an oceanic LIBS sensor. The interrelationship of the key experimental parameters, pulse energy and gate delay, for a range of pressures up to 2.76×107Pa, is studied. A minimal effect of pressure on the peak intensity is observed. A short gate delay (less than 200ns) must be used at all pressures. The ability to use a relatively low laser pulse energy (less than 60mJ) for detection of analytes at high pressure is also established. Na, Mn, and Ca are detectable at pressures up to 2.76×107Pa at 50, 500, and 50ppm, respectively, using an Echelle spectrometer.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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