A direct current plasma (DCP) source, equipped with an echelle spectrometer and charge-injection device (CID) detector, was employed for the analysis of trace metals in municipal sludge and wastewater containing high solids. The use of DCP as a plasma source has largely vanished in the past decade due to the popularity of inductively coupled plasma. Resurrecting this robust plasma source and coupling it to a state-of-the-art echelle spectrometer provides for an extremely forgiving analytical technique capable of analysing trace metals rapidly, even in complex high-solid matrices. Instrument performance is further enhanced as the echelle/CID spectrometer provides a simultaneous multi-element fingerprint of contaminants in the waste. The improved design offers increased sensitivity in the far ultraviolet, with overall wavelength coverage from 175 to 800 nm. Furthermore, multi-element analysis is obtained quickly with minimal or no sample preparation, making this the fastest screening technique available.
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