The detection of manganese (Mn) in industrial wastewater and seawater plays an important role in pollution monitoring and the investigation of geochemical and biological processes in the ocean. An approach has been introduced in this work to improve the detection sensitivity of Mn in liquids by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy with a filter paper as solid substrate. The calibration curves of Mn in aqueous solutions were obtained with the detection of a Czerny-Turner spectrometer and an echelle spectrometer, respectively. The results showed that the Czerny-Turner spectrometer equipped with an intensified charge-coupled device (ICCD) had a more sensitive detection of Mn in aqueous solution with this approach. The limit of detection (LOD) for Mn was down to 0.11 mg/L with laser pulse energy of 90 mJ. With the same approach, the compact echelle spectrometer equipped with an ICCD was used to verify the feasibility for rapid onsite detection. The calibration curves for Mn in simulated industrial wastewater and seawater were constructed to calculate relevant LODs. The LODs of Mn were 2.78 mg/L in mixed solutions and 2.73 mg/L in seawater by calculation. Both the calibration curves and LODs were affected slightly by the matrix effect in the experiment. In order to assess the accuracy, a mixed solution including Mn, Cr, Cd, and Cu with known concentrations was determined, and good agreement between the measured and real values were achieved. It demonstrated that this approach has significant potential for rapid onsite detection of Mn and other metal elements in industrial wastewater and seawater.
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