Research Group for Atomic Spectrometry
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Graphite furnaces and atomic emission spectrometry
Graphite furnaces (GFs) have been used as atom sources in atomic emission
spectrometry (AES). Two modes of exciting the atoms produced may be
In GFAES (also known as electrothermal atomic emission spectrometry,
ETAES), the atoms produced in the GF are thermally excited by the high
temperature prevailing. Excited atoms then emit light at wavelengths
characteristic of the elements of interest as they return to the ground
state. The intensity of the emitted light is a measure of the concentration
of the element of interest in the sample injected into the GF.
As the highest temperature attainable in a GF is limited to about 3000 K,
the ability to thermally excite elements of high excitation potential (e.g.
As, Cd, Se, Zn) is severely limited. Thus GFAES is unsuitable for the
determination of these elements. Superior conditions can be realized
using non-thermal excitation, using either a low-pressure discharge inside
the GF (furnace atomic non-thermal excitation spectrometry, FANES), or an
atmospheric pressure plasma inside the GF (furnace atomization plasma
High performance liquid chromatography
Attempts at using graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry
(GFAAS) as an element-specific detector for
trace metal speciation following
species separation by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) are
complicated by the discrete sampling nature of the former and the
continuous nature of the latter. Our work on coupled
HPLC-GFAAS systems is described here.
Inductively coupled plasma spectrometry
The inductively coupled plasma (ICP) can be employed as an excitation
source for AES, or as an ion source for mass spectrometry. We have only
had limited experience of working with ICPs, the results of which can be
With the emergence of chemometrics as as important discipline within
chemistry, we have been active in the application of statistical methods
to the optimization of our analytical methods, to calibration problems
and to data reduction. References to other aspects of calibration may also
be found here.
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This document was last updated on July 31, 1996.