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All mercury vapor analyzers will have a method of pulling an air sample into the device, a sensor, and a display. Most analyzers are handheld devices so the operator can move throughout a space. Levels of mercury may be higher in some areas. The display will show the level of mercury in the air.
How mercury vapor analyzers work
There are several types of mercury vapor analyzers. Each type takes an air sample and pulls it through the device for testing. Gold film sensors pass the air sample past a thin gold sensor. If mercury is present in the air it will deposit on the gold and change the electrical resistance of the gold film. This resistance is measured and the amount of mercury is calculated. There are also mercury vapor analyzers that employ atomic absorption or fluorescence spectroscopy. Both types of devices shine a light source through the air sample. Atomic absorption spectroscopy measures the energy absorbed by the mercury in the air by comparing the energy of the light source before and after it passes through the air sample. The problem with this method is that many other particles in the air also absorb energy from the light. Atomic fluorescence spectroscopy avoids this problem by measuring the fluorescence of particles as they release the energy they have absorbed from the light. Each type of particle will release energy at a specific wavelength. Mercury vapor analyzers that use atomic fluorescence spectroscopy are made to only sense fluorescence at the wavelength emitted by mercury in the air.
About mercury vapor analyzers
Mercury Vapor Analyzers test for mercury in the air. When ingested in any form mercury is very harmful. Regulations for household and industrial mercury vapor levels are set by government agencies for our protection. Industries should be especially careful that they are not producing high levels of mercury that will affect both their workers and the communities around them.