Optimization of chemical and instrumental parameters in hydride generation laser-induced breakdown spectrometry for the determination of arsenic, antimony, lead and germanium in aqueous samples
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A laser induced breakdown spectrometry hyphenated with on-line continuous flow hydride generation sample introduction system, HG-LIBS, has been used for the determination of arsenic, antimony, lead and germanium in aqueous environments. Optimum chemical and instrumental parameters governing chemical hydride generation, laser plasma formation and detection were investigated for each element under argon and nitrogen atmosphere. Arsenic, antimony and germanium have presented strong enhancement in signal strength under argon atmosphere while lead has shown no sensitivity to ambient gas type. Detection limits of 1.1mgL-1, 1.0mgL-1, 1.3mgL-1 and 0.2mgL-1 were obtained for As, Sb, Pb and Ge, respectively. Up to 77 times enhancement in detection limit of Pb were obtained, compared to the result obtained from the direct analysis of liquids by LIBS. Applicability of the technique to real water samples was tested through spiking experiments and recoveries higher than 80% were obtained. Results demonstrate that, HG-LIBS approach is suitable for quantitative analysis of toxic elements and sufficiently fast for real time continuous monitoring in aqueous environments.