Method for measuring lead concentrations in blood. The present invention includes the use of resonant laser ablation to analyze .ltoreq.1 .mu.L (or equivalent mass) samples of blood for lead content. A typical finger prick, for example, yields about 10 .mu.L. Solid samples may also readily be analyzed by resonant laser ablation. The sample is placed on a lead-free, electrically conducting substrate and irradiated with a single, focused laser beam which simultaneously vaporizes, atomizes, and resonantly ionizes an analyte of interest in a sample. The ions are then sorted, collected and detected using a mass spectrometer.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to the determination of the concentration of lead in blood (BPb) and, more particularly, to the use of resonant laser ablation to quantitatively evaluate the amount of lead in a sample of blood. The invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 between the Regents of the University of California and the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.