Feasibility of detection and identification of individual bioaerosols using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy

P. B. Dixon, D. W. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

The detection and identification of individual bioaerosols using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is investigated using aerosolized Bacillus spores. Spores of Bacillus atrophaeous, Bacillus pumilus, and Bacillus stearothemophilus were introduced into an aerosol flow stream in a prescribed manner such that single-particle LIBS detection was realized. Bacillus spores were successfully detected based on the presence of the 393.4- and 396.9-nm calcium atomic emission lines. Statistical analyses based on the aerosol number density, the LIBS-based spore sampling frequency, and the distribution of the resulting calcium mass loadings support the conclusion of individual spore detection within single-shot laser-induced plasmas. The average mass loadings were in the range of 2-3 fg of calcium/Bacillus spore, which corresponds to a calcium mass percentage of ∼0.5%. While individual spores were detected based on calcium emission, the resulting Bacillus spectra were free from CN emission bands, which has implications for the detection of elemental carbon, and LIBS-based detection of single spores based on the presence of magnesium or sodium atomic emission was unsuccessful. Based on the current instrumental setup and analyses, real-time LIBS-based detection and identification of single Bacillus spores in ambient (i.e., real life) conditions appears unfeasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-638
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Volume77
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry

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