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Multi-methodological investigation of kunzite, hiddenite, alexandrite, elbaite and topaz, based on laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and conventional analytical techniques for supporting mineralogical characterization


Manuela Rossi1,2, Marcella Dell’Aglio3, Alessandro De Giacomo4, Rosalba Gaudiuso4, Giorgio Saverio Senesi3, Olga De Pascale3, Francesco Capitelli5, Fabrizio Nestola6, Maria Rosaria Ghiara1,2

1 Department of Earth Sciences, University of Naples ‘‘FedericoII’’, Via Mezzocannone 8, 80134 Naples, Italy
2 Royal Mineralogical Museum, Museum Centre of Natural and Physical Sciences, University of Naples ‘‘Federico II’’, Via Mezzocannone 8, 80134 Naples, Italy
3Institute of Inorganic Methodologies and Plasmas-CNR, U.O.S Bari, Via Amendola 122/D, 70126 Bari, Italy
4 Department of Chemistry, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70126 Bari, Italy
5 Institute of Crystallography-CNR, Via Salaria Km 29.300, 00016 Monterotondo, Rome, Italy
6 Department of Geosciences, University of Padua, Via Gradenigo 6, 35131 Padua, Italy
Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, 41, 127–140, (2014)
Gem-quality alexandrite, hiddenite and kunzite, elbaite and topaz minerals were characterized through a multi-methodological investigation based on EMPA-WDS, LA-ICP-MS, and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). With respect to the others, the latter technique enables a simultaneous multi-elemental composition without any sample preparation and the detection of light elements, such as Li, Be and B. The criteria for the choice of minerals were: (a) the presence of chromophore elements in minor contents and/or as traces; (b) the presence of light lithophile elements (Li, Be and B); (c) different crystal chemistry complexity. The results show that LIBS can be employed in mineralogical studies for the identification and characterization of minerals, and as a fast screening method to determine the chemical composition, including the chromophore and light lithophile elements.
Key-words: Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, Chemical analysis, Light lithophile elements, Chromophore elements