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Quantitative analysis of Fuller’s earth using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and inductively coupled plasma/optical emission spectroscopy

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Abstract

Fuller’s earth, most commonly known as Multani Matti (clay) in Urdu, among its various utilizations is traditionally used in skin care cosmetics, particularly for removing blackheads and to treat oily skin. It is also used for improving skin complexion. In this paper, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) was effectively employed for the quantitative investigation of various clay samples for their special uses. To get the LIBS spectra with an optimal signal-to-noise as well as for a more robust and accurate analytical investigation, different experimental parameters (laser energy, gate delay time, and the distance between target and focusing lens) were optimized before the experiments on actual samples. The analysis of emission spectra revealed the presence of many different elements, including Al, Ca, Fe, Mg, Mn, Na, K, Li, S, Si, and Zn. The electron number density and plasma temperatures were determined using the Stark broadened line profile and Boltzmann plot method, respectively. To determine the relative concentration of observed elements, we used an integrated intensity ratio method, integrated intensity of every line from all elements, and calibration free (CF)-LIBS. The prevailing condition of local thermodynamic equilibrium during the experimental executions was verified with multiple criteria. The spectral lines used in CF-LIBS were characterized for the influence from the self-absorption phenomenon, but the same was found insignificant. The findings of our LIBS system were found to agree excellently with the outcomes of the inductively coupled plasma/optical emission spectroscopy, thereby yielding a high statistical correlation factor and hence enlighten the significance of LIBS as a safe and reliable tool for elemental analysis of clay samples.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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