The development of sample introduction techniques for solid
materials is a desirable goal in analytical atomic spectrometry.
Traditional techniques have involved the introduction of samples as
liquids by processes such as nebulisation. However some solid
materials are not readily amenable to dissolution procedures and for
the determination of elements at the ultra-trace level the reagents
used for dissolution may produce undesired contamination. An
additional problem for such determinations is that the dissolution
process- may dilute the sample below the level which can be measured
by the selected technique.
The relative merits of three techniques for the introduction of
solids for inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy
(ICP-OES) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)
have been evaluated in this thesis. The techniques studied were a
laser ablation system based on a Nd:YAG laser, slurry nebulisation
and an electrothermal vaporisation (ETV) system. The parameters
which affect the performance of these techniques have been
discussed. The application of each technique to the analysis of some
geochemical samples has been described. Results are presented for
the determination of various elements in fly ash and standard rock
samples. The results obtained for each technique are compared. A
value of merit has been defined to allow comparison of the results
in this thesis with results published in the literature.
A comparison of the plasma source in the presence and in the absence
of water has been included in this thesis. Ionisation temperature
and electron number density measurements were made usinq traditional
nebulisation and compared to those obtained using laser ablation.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.