Abstract

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has been identified as an analytical chemistry technique suitable for field use. We use double pulse LIBS to detect five analytes (sodium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and potassium) that are of key importance in understanding the chemistry of deep ocean hydrothermal vent fluids as well as mixtures of vent fluids and seawater. The high pressure aqueous environment of the deep ocean is simulated in the laboratory, and the key double pulse experimental parameters (laser pulse energies, gate delay time, and interpulse delay time) are studied at pressures up to 2.76×107Pa. Each element is found to have a unique optimal set of parameters for detection. For all pressures and energies, a short (100ns) gate delay is necessary. As pressure increases, a shorter interpulse delay is needed and the double pulse conditions effectively become single pulse for both the 1.38×107Pa and the 2.76×107Pa conditions tested. Calibration curves reveal the limits of detection of the elements (5000ppmMg, 500ppmK, 500ppmCa, 1000ppmMn, and 50ppmNa) in aqueous solutions at 2.76×107Pa for the experimental setup used. When compared to our previous single pulse LIBS work for Ca, Mn, and Na, the use of double pulse LIBS for analyte detection in high pressure aqueous solutions did not improve the limits of detection.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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