TECNAR LIBS Productslibs icon
Online Chemistry Monitoring For Industrial Applications
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  LIBS sensors are Tecnar’s most recent product line. Activities started in 2006 when the Canadian Research Council approached the company for the licencing of their patent for molten metal chemistry analysis. Like all our other products, Tecnar is committed to develop innovative LIBS sensors for advanced process control in the industrial world.
  Since then, huge advancements have been made and Tecnar today works with all major steel makers with our product for the online measurement of molten zinc alloys on continuous galvanizing lines, the GALVALIBS. We also have dozens of instruments and ongoing development projects that all share the same goal of pushing the online quality control to the next level. New commercial products should be launched by the end of 2012.
  Already, Tecnar is a recognized leader for continuously operating LIBS sensors at the industrial level and we are just at the beginning of this journey. We truly believe LIBS can be the answers to many quality control challenges and our culture is to work closely with industrial partners to develop the right instruments they need to boot productivity and quality.
  LIBS Fundamentals
  Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy libstechnology(LIBS) is a type of atomic emission spectroscopy which uses a highly energetic laser pulse as the excitation source. The laser is focused to form a plasma, which atomizes and excites samples. In principle, LIBS can analyse any matter regardless of its physical state, be it solid, liquid or gas. Because all elements emit light of characteristic frequencies when excited to sufficiently high temperatures, LIBS can (in principle) detect all elements, limited only by the power of the laser as well as the sensitivity and wavelength range of the spectrograph & detector. In practice, detection limits are a function of a) the plasma excitation temperature, b) the light collection window, and c) the line strength of the viewed transition. LIBS makes use of optical emission spectrometry and is to this extent very similar to arc/spark emission spectroscopy.
  LIBS operates by focusing the laser onto a small area at the surface of the specimen; when the laser is discharged it ablates a very small amount of material, in the range of nanograms to picograms, which generates a plasma plume with temperatures in excess of 100,000 K. During data collection, typically after local thermodynamic equilibrium is established, plasma temperatures range from 5,000–20,000 K. At the high temperatures during the early plasma, the ablated material dissociates (breaks down) into excited ionic and atomic species. During this time, the plasma emits a continuum of radiation which does not contain any useful information about the species present, but within a very small timeframe the plasma expands at supersonic velocities and cools. At this point the characteristic atomic emission lines of the elements can be observed. The delay between the emission of continuum radiation and characteristic radiation is in the order of 10 µs, this is why it is necessary to temporally gate the detector.
  Because such a small amount of material is consumed during the LIBS process the technique is considered essentially non-destructive or minimally-destructive, and with an average power density of less than one watt radiated onto the specimen there is almost no specimen heating surrounding the ablation site. Due to the nature of this technique sample preparation is typically minimized to homogenization or is often unnecessary where heterogeneity is to be investigated or where a specimen is known to be sufficiently homogeneous, this reduces the possibility of contamination during chemical preparation steps. One of the major advantages of the LIBS technique is its ability to depth profile a specimen by repeatedly discharging the laser in the same position, effectively going deeper into the specimen with each shot. This can also be applied to the removal of surface contamination, where the laser is discharged a number of times prior to the analysing shot. LIBS is also a very rapid technique giving results within seconds, making it particularly useful for high volume analyses or on-line industrial monitoring.
  LIBS is an entirely optical technique, therefore it requires only optical access to the specimen. This is of major significance as fiber optics can be employed for remote analyses. And being an optical technique it is non-invasive, non-contact and can even be used as a stand-off analytical technique when coupled to appropriate telescopic apparatus. These attributes have significance for use in areas from hazardous environments to space exploration. Additionally LIBS systems can easily be coupled to an optical microscope for micro-sampling adding a new dimension of analytical flexibility.
  The use of specialized optics or a mechanically positioned specimen stage can be used raster the laser over the surface of the specimen allowing spatially resolved chemical analysis and the creation of 'elemental maps'. This is very significant as chemical imaging is becoming more important in all branches of science and technology.
  LIBS has been used in laboratories since the 70’. It has begun to gather industrial interests in the past 10 years as the most promising technology for an online/in field chemical sensor.
  To know more about this system or to receive a quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us at: sales@tecnar.com

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