An apparatus for detecting elements in an aerosol includes an aerosol beam focuser for concentrating aerosol into an aerosol beam; a laser for directing a laser beam into the aerosol beam to form a plasma; a detection device that detects a wavelength of a light emission caused by the formation of the plasma. The detection device can be a spectrometer having at least one grating and a gated intensified charge-coupled device. The apparatus may also include a processor that correlates the wavelength of the light emission caused by the formation of the plasma with an identity of an element that corresponds to the wavelength. Furthermore, the apparatus can also include an aerosol generator for forming an aerosol beam from bulk materials. A method for detecting elements in an aerosol is also disclosed.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
This invention was made with United States Government support awarded by the Department of Energy to Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, Contract No. DE-AC05-96OR22464. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.