FUNDAMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS OF A 148 MEGAHERTZ INDUCTIVELY COUPLED PLASMA DISCHARGE.
AuthorWEBB, BRYAN DOUGLAS.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractFundamental investigations have been carried out on an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) operated at 148 MHz, a frequency which is nearly three times higher than any previously reported for analytical ICPs used in spectrochemical analysis. High frequency operation is expected to provide easier sample introduction into the discharge, with a consequence of less energetic conditions in the central channel. Several plasma diagnostic techniques were employed in order to determine the conditions experienced by the analyte species in this source for spectrochemical analysis. Three different torch systems were investigated at 148 MHz and compared to the "standard" 27 MHz configuration. The highest excitation temperatures and electron densities were obtained in the 27 MHz configuration, and the lowest values in the largest torch at 148 MHz. Intermediate values were obtained in the intermediate-size torches at 148 MHz. These observations correlate reasonably well with the ratio of the plasma radius to the skin depth (r/s). The skin depth defines the region in which the majority of the electrical energy is deposited into the discharge, and is smaller at 148 MHz than at 27 MHz. The measurement of electron densities also allows the estimation of how closely a particular discharge approaches Local Thermal Equilibrium (LTE). As may be expected, LTE is most closely approached in the 27 MHz arrangement. The less energetic conditions characterized by lower temperatures and electron densities result in less intense analyte emission from the high frequency ICPs. Signal-to-Background ratios and detection limits reflect this trend, but the linearity of the calibration curves and freedom from vaporization interferences are not degraded. Finally, the introduction of organic solvents is much easier, and better detection limits in an organic matrix are obtained at 148 MHz. These investigations have shown the utility of classifying the effects of changing torch sizes and operating frequencies by means of the r/s ratio. This provides the analyst with a means of selecting the general range of conditions to be employed in a particular analysis.