Current methodologies to measure the concentrations of these elements, such as inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry/mass spectrometry (ICP-OES/MS) are expensive in time and reagents. This study demonstrates that a new methodology employing laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) can rapidly and accurately analyze the inorganic constituents in a wide range of biomass materials, including both woody and herbaceous examples. This technique requires little or no sample preparation, does not consume any reagents, and the analytical data is available immediately. In addition to comparing LIBS data with results from ICP-OES methods, this work also includes discussions of sample preparation techniques, calibration curves for interpreting LIBS spectra, minimum detection limits, and the use of internal standards and standard reference materials.
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