Researchers from Spain have engineered a laser spectrometer to analyse solids underwater that they hope to eventually develop for deep sea research.1
Stand-off laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (ST-LIBS) is a technique to identify the elemental composition of solids at a distance, enabling safe analysis of explosive, radioactive or toxic compounds.2 While this technique is well-developed and widely used in air – Javier Laserna and coworkers at the University of Malaga built a ST-LIBS system able to differentiate between common explosives and contaminants such as hand cream or motor oil3 – there is no current technology to apply it underwater.
A study of underwater stand-off laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for chemical analysis of objects in the deep ocean
F. J. Fortes, S. Guirado, A. Metzinger and J. J. Laserna
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2015, 30, 1050-1056
DOI: 10.1039/C4JA00489B, Paper