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GDS950Extended Range Glow Discharge Atomic Emission Spectrometer

Our GDS950 Glow Discharge Spectrometer (GDS) offers state-of-the-art technology designed specifically for routine elemental determination and compositional depth profiling in most electrically conductive and non-conductive solid matrices. User-friendly Cornerstone brand software is brought to the platform for increased usability, simplified reporting, and streamlined analysis times—saving you time in your lab.

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The glow discharge source brings a number of advantages, including:

  • Simple, linear calibrations when compared to other sources
  • Controlled excitation that occurs away from the sample surface
  • Reduced reference material consumption
  • Automatic cleaning between analyses saves time and minimizes matrix effects for increased analytical performance

The detection system ensures stability, flexibility, and performance, with the following specifications:

  • Full wavelength coverage from 120 nm to 460 nm
  • 30 pm (0.030 nm) resolution to differentiate even the most complex features of bulk spectra

Optional CDP Analysis Support is available.

  • Compositional depth profiling of solid electrically conductive samples
  • Ideal for plating, galvanizing, cladding, and other conductive surface treatments

Cornerstone software provides simplified analysis and reporting.


The GDS950 is ideal for bulk elemental determination in metals or other solid materials like steel, cast iron, titanium, and other metals. When equipped with the CDP option, it expands the capability to compositional depth profile analysis of surface features like galvanizing, plating, heat treatments, and cladding. Application capabilities are further expanded with the DC/RF lamp option, which expands both bulk and CDP to include solid electrically non-conductive materials like paint, glass, plastics, and more.

Theory of Operation

Glow Discharge Spectrometry (GDS) is an analytical method for direct determination of the elemental composition of solid samples. A prepared flat sample is mounted on the glow discharge source, and then the source is evacuated and backfilled with Argon. A constant electric field is applied between the sample (cathode) and the electrically grounded body of the lamp (anode). These conditions result in the spontaneous formation of a stable, self–sustained discharge, which is called a glow discharge.

The applied current is regulated by the power supply and the lamp voltage is held constant through regulation of the Argon pressure. As soon as the plasma is initiated, inert gas ions formed in the plasma are accelerated by the electric field toward the cathode. Through a process called cathodic sputtering, kinetic energy is transferred from the inert gas ions to the atoms on the sample surface, which causes some of these surface atoms to be ejected into the plasma.

Instrument models equipped with the Radio Frequency (RF) option use radio frequency energy (instead of direct current) to generate the glow discharge. LECO’s proprietary True Plasma Power algorithm is used to correct for radiated and reflected power losses. True Plasma Power improves the ability of RF-equipped models to perform both quantitative bulk analysis and quantitative depth profile analysis for electrically conductive and electrically non-conductive samples.

Once the atoms are ejected into the plasma, they are subject to inelastic collisions with energetic electrons or metastable Argon atoms. Energy transferred by such collisions causes the sputtered atoms to become electrically excited. The excited atoms quickly relax to a lower energy state by emitting photons. The wavelength of each photon is determined by the electronic configuration of the atom from which it was emitted. Since each element has a unique electronic configuration, every element can be identified by its unique spectrochemical signature or emission spectrum.

A spectrometer is used to measure the emission signals from the glow discharge. To ensure that the media within the spectrometer is transparent to ultra-violet and visible light (120-460 nm), the entire optical system is purged with Argon. Photosensitive Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) arrays are positioned at the focal plane in such a manner that the complete emission spectrum is recorded from 120 to 460 nm.

The CCD arrays convert the spectrum into an electrical signal, which is digitized and processed to remove dark current signal, normalize the pixel response, extend the dynamic range, and eliminate pixelation. Since the number of photons emitted by each element is proportional to its relative concentration in the sample, analyte concentrations can be deduced by calibration with reference samples of known composition.

GDS950 Glow Discharge Spectrometer with two monitors

GDS950 glow discharge spectrometers can be fitted with a variety of options depending on the type of analysis desired, the sample type(s), and the environment in which the system is installed.  Choices include:

Glow Discharge Lamp

  • DC only for solid electrically conductive samples
  • A combination DC/RF lamp for both electrically conductive and non-conductive solid samples

Analysis Software Support

  • Bulk only, for the determination of bulk elemental composition
  • Bulk and CDP, for both the determination of bulk elemental composition, and compositional depth profiling

Spectrometer Extension

  • Choice to add an extension spectrometer, to expand the upper wavelength range from 450 to 850 nm

Vacuum Pump Type

  • Rotary vane pump for standard lab environments
  • Dry Roots pump for oil sensitive lab environments like clean rooms
  • Integrated Desk or Mobile Workstation
  • High purity Gas Regulators
  • Vacuum pump sound abatement enclosure
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