On board LIBS analysis of marine sediments collected during the XVI Italian campaign in Antarctica

R. Barbini, F. Colao, V. Lazic, R. Fantoni, A. Palucci, M. Angelone

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The Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy technique was applied on board the R/V Italica during the XVI Antarctic campaign (2000-2001) to carry out elemental chemical analysis of marine sediments collected using different sampling systems. To this end, a compact system has been built, which was suitable to operate also in the presence of mechanical vibrations, induced by the ship motion. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed on dried samples, without any further pre-treatment. Qualitative analyses have shown similar elemental composition among different collected sediments, except for significant differences in the case of rock fragments and manganese nodule. The latter also contains some heavy metals that in sediment layers were detected only in traces. The methodology to retrieve relative or absolute elemental concentration in heterogenous samples has been optimized and is scarcely sensitive to variations of sediment physical properties with depth, and to experimental parameters such as laser defocusing because of surface irregularities, and laser energy fluctuations. The relative distribution of the major elemental constituents, both from a bio-organic and mineral origin, was measured as a function of sediment depth. Measurements, once limited to specific spectral sections, and data analyses are fast and very reproducible. Most of the elements show a gradually varying distribution along the sampled core, except for silicon and barium, whose steep decrease with depth is strongly related to their biogenic origin. Quantitative LIBS analyses were performed on a limited number of samples and the results reported here, are comparable to the certified element contents in a reference sample of Antarctic sediments. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203 - 1218
Number of pages16
JournalSpectrochimica Acta, Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Spectroscopy

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