For those who work in the oil and gas industry, conducting positive material identification (PMI) is one of the key ways to help ensure the integrity of pipelines and critical process equipment. Across the global oil and gas industry, considerable effort has been focused on preventing the release of highly hazardous chemicals and toxic substances using portable XRF analyzers for metal analysis. However, the latest technology used for material verification — especially on pipelines — is Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS).
LIBS technology uses a tightly focused laser to ablate the surface of a sample to form a plasma. The plasma, which then atomizes and excites the sample, emits light that is transmitted through fiber optics and enters the spectrometer through a slit. The light then interacts with a diffraction grating and splits the light into its component wavelengths. The detector produces a spectrum from the sample which can be analyzed, and the concentration of each element determined.
Handheld LIBS and XRF are best thought of as complimentary technologies. When used together, users can expect to measure a greater range of elements. For example, LIBS can detect lighter elements, such as carbon (C), that handheld XRF is unable to. Handheld XRF is considered non-destructive, while LIBS is minimally destructive. More user maintenance is required for LIBS such as instrument cleaning, sample preparation and daily setup, whereas XRF requires little upkeep and is best summarized as “point and shoot”.
We’ve listed our top most frequently asked questions and answers about LIBS analyzers, including:
- How does LIBS work?
- What type of laser is used?
- Is personal protective equipment recommended?
- Are handheld LIBS analyzers safe to operate?
- What type of training is required?
- Is sample preparation required?
- Can handheld LIBS analyzers detect carbon?
- What is the analytical range?
- How quickly can one obtain results?
- What types of maintenance is required?
Handheld LIBS analyzers are also used in other industries, like metal fabrication and scrap metal recycling. Manufacturers use LIBS handheld analyzers to calculate carbon equivalency by measuring the contribution of specific elements for steel composition and signifying an equivalent level of hardenability. This is critical for quality control and quality assurance (QA/QC) of incoming materials and outgoing finished goods. Scrap metal recyclers use handheld LIBS analyzers for fast and accurate sorting of scrap metals, which is essential to workflow efficiency and profitability.
Browse our list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to learn more about handheld LIBS analyzers.
Read the FAQ page: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Niton Apollo Handheld LIBS Analyzer