Novel method provides plug-and-play capabilities for easily calibrating laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) optical systems.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a novel plug-and-play technology for calibrating optical systems such as laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) or Raman spectroscopy systems. A compact, bright and broadband (180 nm to about 2 μm) light source, the innovation enables spectral and spectral power density calibration, an essential procedure in both qualitative and quantitative analyses. The device can advantageously replace dimmer and bulkier light sources that require additional components such as integrating spheres.
Optical systems with spectral detectors, such as LIBS, are difficult to calibrate since most conventional calibration devices are large and bulky and cannot fit in the relatively small region where an optical signal interacts with a sample. Even if used to calibrate optical systems, the calibration devices generate beams that are too wide to precisely represent a near-point source of a radiated sample. The UCF invention resolves these issues with a low-cost method for producing a calibration light source device. The device fits into most commercial and experimental optical systems, thus allowing for better accuracy during sample analysis.
The invention provides a method for fabricating and using a novel optical light source device to calibrate an optical system. The method adapts the optical source to the point of detection or to the region where the optical beam interacts with a sample in the optical system. Techniques include determining a form factor for the point of detection/region and then providing an envelope that fits the form factor in size and shape. The method also uses electrodes to connect the envelope to a power source and to fill the envelope with a gas.
In one example application, the device consists of a xenon flashtube light source powered by an electronics package. A high-energy discharge flash creates an intense, continuous emission superimposed on the xenon atomic emission lines. The continuous emission calibrates the response of the spectrophotometer to determine the plasma temperature, while the device uses the discrete atomic emission lines to calibrate the spectral nonlinearity of the diffraction gratings.
The research team is looking for partners to develop the technology further for commercialization.
Stage of Development
- Low cost
- Produces better, quantified results than conventional optical sources used for calibration
- Calibration of LIBS units