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Title: An investigation of the response mechanism of the nitrogen phosphorus detector.
Author: Schofield, Paul Anthony.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3556 5835
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 1999
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The Nitrogen Phosphorus Detector is a sensitive, selective device used in gas chromatography. It responds selectively towards nitrogen and phosphorus containing organic compounds with detection limits in the picogram range. The detector is of great importance for the measurement of trace levels of drugs, pesticides and herbicides in biological matrices and the environment. There is, however, some dispute in the literature regarding the detector's response mechanism. The detector is based on a hydrogen-air diffusion flame. Two electrodes polarise the flame with a potential difference of about 200 V and the current through the flame is measured using an electrometer amplifier. The selectivity of the system relies on the presence of an alkali metal source, usually rubidium. In the presence of nitrogen- and phosphorus-containing organics, C~ and PO· anions are formed, yielding a current which is the measured response. It has been suggested that this selective response arises from a charge transfer reaction between the rubidium excited states and ~ or PO· and P02• radicals. Using an AlGaAs diode laser, the rubidium excited state population can be modulated and the influence on detector current monitored. Rubidium resonance-enhanced ionisation, laser-induced fluorescence and emission spectroscopy have all been used to further probe the response mechanism of the detector. Results have demonstrated that during response the C~ radical concentration increases. In addition the diode laser can modulate the excited state rubidium concentration altering it by a factor of 2. However despite more that doubling the Rubidium excited state concentration no increase in detector response is observed. From these observations it has been concluded that the above mentioned charge transfer reaction plays little if any role in detector response.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Gas chromatography; Semiconductor diode laser