From: The Optical Society
Published April 24, 2017 02:51 PM

New Approach to Improve Detection of Landfill-Related Pollution

Numerous hazardous substances seep from landfills into soil and groundwater, threatening human health and the environment. However, current methods for monitoring these substances are cumbersome and can create additional hazardous chemicals.

A method known as laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) offers a cleaner, faster and simpler approach than existing technologies for detecting contaminants in the fluids coming from landfills, known as leachates. In The Optical Society journal Applied Optics, a team of researchers working in the Brazilian company Embrapa Instrumentation report refinements to LIBS technology and confirm that LIBS can be used to detect mercury in leachates.

"LIBS is an environmentally clean technique that is free of chemical residues, compared to standard reference techniques currently used for the same type of analysis," said Carlos Menegatti, University of São Paulo, Brazil, and the paper's first author. "Moreover, LIBS is a much faster technique and does not require pre-preparation of the samples."

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