Show your support for community science. Donate to Public Lab »

Public Lab Research note


Selenium detection methods & ideas on e-cigarette atomizers for DIY analysis

by warren | April 08, 2014 13:51 08 Apr 13:51 | #10281 | #10281

This PDF has some great notes on all different approaches for measuring selenium in soil, water, air, tissue samples, blood, urine, and semen. It references amounts needed, sensitivity, and discusses a lot of different types of spectroscopy:

tp92-c7.pdf (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp92-c7.pdf) via the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry

One of the techniques we've discussed on the lists is atomic emission spectroscopy, which is like burning a sample and watching for the emission spectrum as it's heated. This has the big drawback that you'd have to mist selenium through a flame, which is almost certainly not good for your health. I'm trying to think of some kind of sampling chamber where you could do this inside Pyrex or otherwise contain the toxic vapor.

I started thinking about e-cigarettes, which atomize a liquid into a vapor, and are really compact and relatively inexpensive. (above image via Wikipedia) I wonder if there could be some kind of very small flame and an e-cigarette could atomize/vaporize a sample liquid through it, all in a small, semi-disposable clear chamber.

Maybe I need to buy an e-cigarette?


3 Comments

Glad you've thought more about this since walking by that e-cig store. the one I saw has a wick from the nicotine fluid into the heater-- and it needs a draw to pull through. Not sure if that would work for a suspended sample.

Reply to this comment...


I think the e-cigarette is just vaporizing the liquid. I don't believe it burns anything (unless it runs dry or gets too hot)

Reply to this comment...


I agree, dan - i assume we'd have to have a flame too... just thinking of a compact way to mist a sample, in a way that can be done inside a small chamber.

Reply to this comment...


Login to comment.