Research Group for Atomic Spectrometry
Integrated contact cuvette, designed at this department
Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry
Graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS) is also known by various
other acronyms, including electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS).
Briefly, the technique is based on the fact that free atoms will absorb light at
frequencies or wavelengths characteristic of the element of interest (hence the
name atomic absorption spectrometry). Within certain limits, the amount of light
absorbed can be linearly correlated to the concentration of analyte present.
Free atoms of most elements can be produced from samples by the application of
high temperatures. In GFAAS, samples are deposited in a small graphite tube,
which can then be heated to vaporize and atomize the analyte.
The figure at the top of this page shows a graphite tube designed by
Wolfgang Frech and Bruno HŁtsch (retired from
Ringsdorff-Werke GmbH, Bonn, Germany). Light (red lines) from a source
emitting wavelengths specific to the element of interest passes through the
tube, where it will be absorbed by free atoms produced during heating of the
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This document was last updated on July 31, 1996.