Abstract

A laser induced breakdown spectroscopic (LIBS) system, consisting of a pulsed 266 nm laser radiation, in conjunction with a high-resolution spectrograph, a gated intensified charge coupled device camera, and a built-in delay generator were used to develop a sensitive detector to quantify the concentration of toxic substances such as chromium in synthetic hair dyes available on the local market. The strong atomic transition line of chromium (Cr I) at 427.5 nm wavelength was used as a fingerprint wavelength to calibrate the detection system and also to quantify the levels of chromium in the hair dye samples. The limit of detection achieved by our LIBS detection system for chromium was 1.2 ppm, which enabled us to detect chromium concentration in the range of 5–11 ppm in the commercial hair dyes available on the local market. The concentrations of chromium in the hair dyes measured using our system were validated using a standard analytical technique such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS), and acceptable agreement (nearly 8%) was found between the results obtained by the two methods (LIBS and ICPMS). This study is highly significant for human health, specifically for people using synthetic hair dyes for changing the color of their hair.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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