In order to determine the health of large industrial equipment such as engines or turbines, samples of oil are taken from the equipment and analyzed for wear materials. Currently, the oil is sent to a laboratory where it is analyzed using bulky and expensive inductively coupled plasma equipment. The results tend to come back several days later, a delay that can result in long downtimes, or even equipment failure.
Preliminary research has shown that a q-switched solid state laser can be constructed and is able to produce the desired pulse characteristics required for LIBS. This is possible while still maintaining a sufficiently small size to allow integration with the probe.
With the current design for the spectrometer, the desired resolution and wavelength range has been achieved. Construction of the spectrometer will begin in the near future.
By integrating the probe laser and the spectrometer, it is possible to achieve both goals of on-site, real-time oil analysis while maintaining a relatively low cost.
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