Leakage of injected carbon dioxide (CO2) or resident fluids, such as brine, is a major concern associated with the injection of large volumes of CO2 into deep saline formations. Migration of brine could contaminate drinking water resources by increasing their salinity or endanger vegetation and animal life as well as human health. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effect of sodium chloride (NaCl) concentration on the detection of calcium and potassium in brine samples using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). The ultimate goals were to determine the suitability of the LIBS technique for in situ measurements of metal ion concentrations in NaCl-rich solution and to develop a chemical sensor that can provide the early detection of brine intrusion into formations used for domestic or agricultural water production. Several brine samples of NaCl-CaCl2 and NaCl-KCl were prepared at NaCl concentrations between 0.0 and 3.0 M. The effect of NaCl concentration on the signal-to-background ratio (SBR) and signalto-noise ratio (SNR) for calcium (422.67 nm) and potassium (769.49 nm) emission lines was evaluated. Results show that, for a delay time of 300 ns and a gate width of 3 ls, the presence of and changes in NaCl concentration significantly affect the SBR and SNR for both emission lines. An increase in NaCl concentration from 0.0 to 3.0 M produced an increase in the SNR, whereas the SBR dropped continuously. The detection limits obtained for both elements were in the milligrams per liter range, suggesting that a NaCl-rich solution does not severely limit the ability of LIBS to detect trace amount of metal ions.
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