Handheld LIBS is Rewriting the Rules Surrounding Carbon Identification
LIBS technology, or Laser-Induced-Breakdown-Spectroscopy, to give it its full name, isn’t exactly a new kid on the block when it comes to identifying carbon and other elements. However, the technology has historically been consigned to laboratory locations.
However, the advent of handheld equipment means that LIBS analysis is now mobile and can now effectively be brought to field locations. The implications of this are massive and advantageous to a wide number of industries.
The What, How and Where of Handheld LIBS Technology
LIBS is an NDT technique that provides virtually instantaneous readings of the properties of a substance. It can identify types of metal, carbon, or any other element within the periodic table. Unlike other methods, it can be carried out in isolation, without the addition of any substances or by causing any significant damage to the material. Handheld devices remove the need for large equipment, hence the ability to easily carry them to pretty much any location you need.
The process is far superior to alternative methods. It takes only seconds to analyse both the surface and at depth. Results are returned across a broad range, including lighter elements, such as H, Be, Li, C, N, O, Na and Mg.
The process is safe to both the material and the person taking the samples. The laser heats the sample material at an atomic level, meaning there’s virtually no impact of the energising process and it remains cool to touch.
The portability of handheld LIBS benefits many trades. For example:
- Petrochemicals: During refinement, low concentrations of light elements, such as copper and nickel, are produced. These are valuable bi-products, making on-the-spot identification with a handheld LIBS a highly useful tool.
- Scrap metal: On-site sorting of metal has historically been complicated, not least because of the contamination that’s such metals often have. Handheld LIBS requires no direct contact to analyse – all the operator needs to do is hold the machine close to the metal’s surface. The scrap industry is highly competitive. The ability to quickly categorise materials is essential and the ability to do this in-situ will be a game-changer for early adopters of the technology.
- Positive Material Identification (PMI): An essential element in many industries, but especially in manufacturing. Quickly and accurately analyse material composition to ensure products are fit for use. The process is also highly valuable for quality assurance and quality control, both during the manufacturing of new goods and carrying out NDT of the very assets used to create the products.
- Agriculture: LIBS is the ideal solution for analysing the nutrients within a soil. This replaces the lengthy and expensive process of sending samples to labs. Knowing the carbon composition of a particular soil, both in real-time and over a lengthy period, provides farmers and other agricultural experts with invaluable information to improve productivity.
The use of handheld LIBS knows no boundaries. Its use is being applied to multiple areas, including environmental clean-ups, electric vehicles and space exploration.
Simple, Precise Element Analysis for All
Another massive benefit of LIBS technology is that there’s no need to have any knowledge in how the process works. As long as the user (or the person reading the analysis) can understand the data returned, everything else is automatic.
The only action necessary from the tester is to point the handset at the surface to be tested. A laser is emitted, vaporising a tiny portion of the substance. This causes a plasma made up of ions and atoms. These attempt to return to their original form and, in the process, create light waves that are individual to the element. The handset measures these within seconds, formatting the data into a composition report.
As you can see, the benefits of field testing with LIBS bridges a huge gap that’s been a long time coming. This technology is just one example of the cutting-edge equipment we supply. With rental, lease and purchase options to suit all requirements, Nexxis has changed the face of procurement through working with customers to solve their unique NDT testing challenges.
Find out how Nexxis are leading the field in “Nexxis Marked as One of NDT Equipment Global Market’s Key Players“