SOIL AND TISSUE TESTING TECHNOLOGY
Learn how our turnkey process is faster, easier to operate and way more precise than the traditional soil analysis methods.
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Introducing the laser based technology for soil testing
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy
Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is an analysis technique used to identify the elements in a matrix. It has numerous applications, from pharmaceuticals to mining, and is even used on the Curiosity rover on Mars. LIBS works in three very rapid steps. First, a powerful laser is shot on the surface of the matrix, irradiating the sample and creating a plasma. When the laser is cut, the electrons return to their previous state, and they emit the energy they absorbed as electromagnetic radiation. The radiation emitted by each element has a specific wavelength, and this wavelength is measured and used to determine the precise elemental composition of the material being analyzed.
LIBS is thus a very powerful system to identify elements in a mineral, but up until now it had mainly been used to identify, not quantify, elements in relatively homogenous, stable matrices such as rocks and minerals.
The LaserAG system is a very special application of LIBS technology. We have created and patented a process to bring this powerful technique to very complex analysis matrices, agricultural soil and plant tissue, and furthermore quantify the elements identified.
The sampling and analysis processes of Laserag, are patented.
The LaserAG process starts in the field. Samples are collected in LaserAG specific 20-gram containers. The QR code on the cap of the container is read with a mobile app for identification and geo-positioning of samples. The soil will stay in this container for the entire process, limiting human manipulations and error potential to a minimum.
Once the samples arrive at the laboratory equipped with LaserAG Press and LaserAG Quantum machines, the soil must first be dried. In order to ensure a near-null percentage of humidity for all soil types, we recommend a 24-hour drying period at 37°C.
Once dry, samples are pressed using the LaserAG Press, in order to obtain a stable, rock-like surface. At this point, samples are ready for analysis. They are placed on the carousel, which is then placed on its rack in the LaserAG Quantum machine. Analysis of the 12 samples on one rack lasts approximately 1 minute per sample.
When the analysis is complete, the containers can be removed from the rack and archived, until they are later recycled. The system produces no chemicals and no by-products, leaving behind only the recyclable container and a small amount of soil.
The power of the LaserAG system is in the algorithms used once the wavelength information is captured by the camera. While most other applications of LIBS do not allow precise measurement of element quantity, the LaserAG system quantifies elements in soil and plant tissue and even goes a step farther. Thanks to powerful algorithms, the information collected by the camera is translated to bioavailable elements and nutrients, as traditional chemical lab systems do. This allows the results to be directly interpreted in existing nutrient and fertilization tables.
Each new LaserAg Quantum machine must go through a calibration process for the region it will be located in.
The calibration process is as follows:
Collect 500 samples representative of the territory. The samples should include the range of soil types and the range of nutrient concentrations from poor to excessively rich that are likely to be found on the territory. For plants, the samples should be representative of the crops grown on the territory.
Duplicate the samples after it has been homogenized. One duplicate will be put in a cup for its LaserAg-Quantum analysis and one duplicate will be sent to a local laboratory.
The results of the local laboratory have to be entered into the LaserAg-Quantum calibration software (included with Laserag-Quantum).
After a first batch of 500 samples, Logiag will calibrate the machine and give the correlation coefficient (R2) achieved between LaserAg-Quantum results and local laboratory results.
The R2s are likely to improve as the number of calibration samples increases. The Buyer might decide to stop the calibration process after one batch or might decide to do one or more batches of 500 samples. Logiag will assist in the decision to stop or to continue based on achieved versus achievable R2s.
The Buyer could try to calibrate for any elements as long as the concentration is above 1 ppm. There might be elements that fall out of the spectral range of the machine. Logiag will provide R2s and results for all elements analyzed by the conventional extraction provided by the local lab.