Analytical comparisons of handheld LIBS and XRF devices for rapid quantification of gallium in a plutonium surrogate matrix

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 3-2022


This work compares a portable laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) analyzer to a portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) device for quantification of gallium (Ga) in a plutonium surrogate matrix of cerium (Ce) for the first time. Calibration methods are developed with spectra of Ce–Ga samples from both devices. Metrics such as limit of detection (LoD) and mean average percent error (MAPE) are examined to evaluate calibration performance. While the portable LIBS device can yield a nearly instantaneous analytical measurement, its accuracy is hampered by self-absorption. By employing a self-absorption correction and increasing gating delay, LIBS calibrations with errors in the low single percents and LoDs of 0.1% Ga were constructed. The XRF device produces calibrations with superlative sensitivity, yielding LoDs for gallium in the low tens of parts-per-million (ppm), two orders of magnitude lower than the corrected LIBS models. However, a clear trade-off of measurement fidelity is established between the instantaneous analysis of the LIBS device and the minutes-long XRF measurement yielding superior detection limits.


© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2022.

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Source Publication

Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy