Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department


Committee Member

Dr. R, Kenneth Marcus, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. George Chumanov

Committee Member

Dr. Brian Powell


In scenarios such as environmental contamination or on-site nuclear analysis, an instrument capable of rapid, in-field chemical analysis would be faster and more cost-effective than the current practice of sending samples back to the laboratory for analysis. An ideal instrument for this purpose will consume little power, produce a small footprint, use small sample volumes with no sample preparation, produce no waste, and operate in ambient conditions while maintaining the high precision and accuracy needed to make time-sensitive decisions. The liquid sampling-atmospheric pressure glow discharge (LS-APGD) microplasma, developed by Marcus and co-workers, is a novel excitation source for atomic emission spectroscopy developed to meet these goals. This emission/ionization source meets the demands needed for field-capable instrumentation by being cost efficient and having a small footprint, low power consumption, high salt/matrix tolerance, and little to no waste production. The microplasma is generated in a 1-2 mm gap sheathed in a helium gas between a stainless steel electrode and an electrolytic solution. Since its conception, the LS-APGD has been used for a variety of sample mediums (e,g,, liquid, solid, and laser ablated particles) and as an elemental and an organic ionization source, and as an emission source for detection by mass spectrometry (MS) and optical emission spectroscopy (OES), respectively. Previous research employing the LS-APGD microplasma has assessed optimized components and operating parameters for multiple sample introductions and methods of detection. This work presents an analytical study of the LS-APGD microplasma as an emission source for solution samples. The goal of this research is to illustrate the capabilities of this emission source by quantitative assessment. An evaluation of the source in terms of line selection and theoretical limits of detection progresses the microplasma towards successful implementation while the analysis of matrix effects unveils broader capabilities of analysis and deeper understanding of the source. This characterization and examination of the LS-APGD microplasma, combined with past assessments, illustrates the potential of this source as a portable instrument for in-field elemental spectroscopy.



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