Development and application of a debris collection device for the in-situ sample collection of forensic, artistic and archaeological samples

Kari Smith

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

    328 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] The contents of this thesis describe the investigational process undertaken to develop a microsampling technique for the removal, collection and subsequent analysis of a diverse range of matrices including paintings and archaeological exhibits such as ceramics and forensic samples. The experiments undertaken to examine the usefulness and applicability of the technique are outlined and a detailed description of the design and development of the sample cell and collection membranes is given. The sampling protocol uses a laser to provide a fine focused light beam, initiating a micro-plasma on the surface of the sample being investigated. This plasma, which has an electronic temperature of approximately 8000°C, acts as a micro-scalpel removing minute amounts of the sample uncontaminated by surrounding material. The ablated debris is transported in an argon stream and collected on micro-porous membrane filters. These filters are stored and returned to the laboratory for subsequent analysis. The analysis of these filters, using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), provides elemental data which can be related back to the original sample. These data can then be used for comparison either with data obtained from the direct analysis of reference material or data obtained under the same conditions using reference material. They can also be searched against a database of equivalent analytical results for provenance establishment or compared directly with data from reference samples. Parameters investigated include sample ablation and collection time, mode of ablation and ablation-atmosphere gas mixes, laser fluence, optimisation of filter type and the optimisation of the final analytical protocols for the collected debris. Validation of the methodology is achieved by cross comparing all resulting spectral fingerprints with equivalent spectral fingerprints of the directly analysed original sample and also with
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009


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