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Study Notes: General Aspects of AAS Analysis

AAS is used for the quantitative analysis of 67 metal elements and is applied to a wide range of sample/matrix types covering environmental, geological and biological.

AAS is a selective technique. The wavelength at which light is absorbed is specific for each element. If a sample containing chromium for instance, together with elements such as iron and zinc, is exposed to light at the characteristic wavelength of chromium, then only the chromium atoms will absorb the light.

The sample is analysed as a liquid or is dissolved in acid before dilution in water. Organic solvents may also be used. The sample would contain less than 5% dissolved solids (i.e. 5 gram sample per 100 mL of liquid or solution) and preferably less than 2%.

As small a quantity as 5 mL is needed for analysis.

The technique can measure analyte concentrations in the range from µg/L to % with good precision (i.e. repeatability) at rates of up to 20 per minute.

The atomic absorption spectrophotometer is relatively easy to use and tune.

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