The measurement of trace concentrations (1–400 ppm) of polyatomic molecular impurities in helium was investigated by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). For the Column III and V hydrides such as B<sub>2</sub> H<sub>6</sub>, PH<sub>3</sub>, and AsH<sub>3</sub>, the detectability limits with the present apparatus were determined to be 1, 3, and ∼1 ppm, respectively. It is expected that resorting to synchronous detection techniques will improve the sensitivity of LIBS for this application by as much as an order of magnitude.
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