SSEF Introduces LIBS to Gem Industry Labs

As mentioned last month, Dr. Henry Hänni of the Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) is now offering inexpensive identification of beryllium-diffused corundum. This breakthrough was the result of Hänni's adapting a qualitative laser spectrometer for a process called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, or LIBS. Previously, beryllium detection had used quantitative methods employing micro mass spectrometry, such as laser ablation (LA-ICP-MS) or secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS), technologies that are costly and not always available to professional gem labs. LIBS allows SSEF to offer affordable trace elemental analysis of gemstones. Representatives of GIA's Gem Trade Lab and the American Gem Trade Association's Gem Testing Center laboratory have said that they too will use this technology. Hänni explains how it works: "The single laser pulse transforms some micrograms of the

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