Microplasma detection of hazardous compounds

Randy Lee Vander Wal, Jane Hitomi Fujiyama-Novak, Benjamin Ward, Debanjan Das, Chethan Kumar Gaddam, Amrita Mukerjee

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Plasmas have a long-standing analytical history but generally as large, stand-alone laboratory scale instruments. In contrast the physical scaling of microplasmas permit atmospheric pressure operation and battery scale power requirements, thereby permitting mobile field analysis. The energetic species in an otherwise "cold" i.e. nonthermal plasma both dissociates species of interest and excites the elemental constituents. The atomic emission spectrum serves to identify the compound and ideally its molecular composition with intensity corresponding to concentration. For some operational regimes and species, emission from OH*, CH* and often C2* diatomic radicals is produced. Spectral simulation extracts the plasma temperature while the emission further aids compound detection and identification. This is particularly true for compounds such as acetone, ethanol, heptane, toluene, and nitrobenzene. Limits of detection extend to ppb levels for some species such as nitrobenzene. Results will be shown for differentiation of classes of organic compounds such as alkanes, aromatics and oxygenates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Event240th ACS National Meeting and Exposition - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Aug 22 2010Aug 26 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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