Studying Novel Kinds of Glow Discharges
Such discharges are sometimes operated at reduced pressure and sometimes at atmospheric pressure. The one shown in this image is in the open atmosphere and strikes directly onto the surface of a solution sample. Elements in that sample are volatilized, atomized, and emit radiation characteristic of those elements. Despite its low power and small size, the new discharge offers detection limits that rival those of more powerful and familiar emission sources such as the inductively coupled plasma.