Quantitative Elemental Analyses by Plasma Emission Spectroscopy

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Science  13 Oct 1978:
Vol. 202, Issue 4364, pp. 183-191
DOI: 10.1126/science.202.4364.183


Argon-supported inductively coupled plasmas operated at atmospheric pressures are excellent vaporization-atomization-excitation-ionization sources for analytical atomic emission spectroscopy. When a polychromator is used for observing the emitted spectra, the metals and metalloids can be determined simultaneously at the ultratrace, trace, minor, and major concentration levels under one set of experimental parameters. Alternatively, programmable scanning spectrometers may be utilized for sequential determinations. The atomization-excitation process is remarkably free of interelement interactions, the powers of detection are in the part per billion range for most elements, and sample manipulation requirements prior to analyses are often minimal. The technique meets the requirements of an analytical system for the simultaneous or sequential determination of the elements at all concentration levels to an unusual high degree.