Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Rehse, Steven

Keywords

concentration; discrimination; doping; LIBS; nanosecond; sterilization

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

In the past decade, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy has been shown to provide compositional data that can be used for discrimination between bacterial specimens at the strain level. This work demonstrates the viability of this technique in a clinical setting. Studies were conducted to investigate the impact of emissions generated by a nitrocellulose filter paper background on the classification of four species: E. coli, S. epidermidis, M. smegmatis, and P. aeruginosa. Limits of detection were determined as 48±12 kCFU per ablation event for new mounting procedures using standard diagnostic laboratory techniques, and a device for centrifuge filtration was designed for sampling from low-titer bacterial suspensions. Plasma emissions from samples grown at biological levels of magnesium, zinc, and glucose were shown not to deviate from controls. A limit of detection for environmental zinc was found to be 11 ppm. Discrimination with heat-killed samples was demonstrated, providing a sterile diagnostic environment.

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