An Overview to Elemental Analysis

Elemental analysis is a process where a sample of material (eg. soil, waste or drinking water, bodily fluids, minerals, chemical compounds) is analyzed for its elemental composition.

Analytical chemistry is the analysis of material samples to gain an understanding of their chemical composition and structure.

Atomic absorption spectroscopy in analytical chemistry is a technique for determining the concentration of a particular metal element within a sample. Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy can be used to analyze the concentration of over 62 different metals in a solution.

Typically, the technique makes use of a flame to atomize the sample, but other atomizers such as a graphite furnace are also used. Three steps are involved in turning a liquid sample into an atomic gas:

1. Desolvation - the liquid solvent is evaporated, and the dry sample remains.

2. Vaporization - the solid sample vaporizes to a gas.

3. Volatilisation - the compounds making up the sample are broken into free atoms.

The flame is arranged such that it is laterally long (usually 10cm) and not deep. The height of the flame must also be controlled by controlling the flow of the fuel mixture. A beam of light is focused through this flame at its longest axis (the lateral axis) onto a detector past the flame.

The light that is focused into the flame is produced by a hollow cathode lamp which is the most common light source used in atomic absorption (AA) spectroscopy. The wavelength and intensity of light is dependant on the metal. Therefore, analysis by atomic absorption spectrometer requires a specific lamp for each element to be measured.

As the quantity of energy inputted into the flame is known, and the quantity outputted at the other side (detector) can be measured, it is possible to calculate how many of these transitions took place, and thus get a signal that is proportional to the concentration of the element being measured.

Smart Solutions to Elemental Analysis

Aurora's Instruments specializes in analytical instruments and supply spectrometers to suit your needs and application for any elemental analysis requirements. For any trace element detection ranges in the parts per million (ppm), parts per billion (ppb) and parts per trillion (ppt) level, we have the solution for you!

Combining revolutionary designs, excellent performance, versatility and ease-of-use, Aurora's AA spectrometers are the ideal choice for your elemental analysis needs.