Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 176–180 | Cite as

Real-time identification of plastics by types using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy

  • Eunok KimEmail author
  • Woo Zin Choi


Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy was applied for real-time identification of different types of plastics. The plasma emission spectra of polypropylene, acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate, the most commonly used plastics in black household appliances, were studied. It was confirmed that the C/H spectral line intensity ratio varies depending on the type of plastics. Aliphatic and aromatic polymers were discriminated owing to the presence of delocalized C–C bonds in the aromatic fragments, revealing a correlation between the chemical structure and emission of the C2 Swan bands. Plastics containing a heteroatom could be selectively detected by monitoring the emission line characteristics of the heteroatom. Four types of plastics were successfully identified despite their similar chemical structure.


Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy LIBS Plasma Plastics Real-time identification 



This study was supported by the R&D Center for Valuable Recycling (Global-Top R&D Program) of the Ministry of Environment (Project No.:2016002250002). The authors would like to thank Mr. Bosung Jang, Director of ASI Korea Operations, for his technical support during the LIBS experiment and data analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryThe University of SuwonHwaseongSouth Korea
  2. 2.Center for IT and Environmental ResearchThe University of SuwonHwaseongSouth Korea

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