M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentRozler Haim
SubjectDevelopment of a Detector for Direct Analysis of Heavy Metal
DepartmentDepartment of Chemistry
Supervisor PROF. Israel Schechter
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Heavy metal aerosols are dangerous in high concentrations, and heavy metal pollution is considered a priority problem. Therefore, their detection and quantification are important. The most common methods for analysis of heavy metals in air are atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), laser-excited atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (LEAFS) and instrumental neutron active analysis (INAA).

In this study, a new method was developed which uses a complexation reaction for detecting and quantifying heavy metals in air. A PVC film containing 1-(2'-thiazolylazo)-2-naphthol (TAN) or 1-(2'-pyridylazo)-2-naphthol (PAN) was synthesized in the laboratory and reacted with heavy metal aerosols or with solid heavy metal salts obtained by evaporating the metal nitrate solution.

The complexation reaction has been quantified using spectrometry, photography and image processing techniques. The results clearly show our new method's ability to detect and quantify heavy metal aerosols (for all metals and almost all TAN concentrations in the film, LOD=3-5 pg cation, LOQ=10-20 pg cation and R2>0.9). Moreover, we found that our method can detect more than one metal simultaneously.

We have found that iron oxides, which are commonly present in the environment, do not interfere with this method.