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Review of Multielement Atomic Spectroscopic Methods

Volume 29, Number 5 (Oct. 1975) Page 369-383

Winefordner, J.D.; Fitzgerald, J.J.; Omenetto, N.


A comparison of multielement atomic spectroscopic methods is given. The atomic spectroscopic methods, including atomic absorption flame and nonflame spectrometry, atomic fluorescence flame and nonflame spectrometry, and atomic emission spectrometry (including sources consisting of flames, inductively coupled plasmas, and microwave plasmas) are reviewed and compared especially with respect to their inherent advantages and disadvantages for multielement analysis. The types of optical detection systems, including temporal devices, spatial devices, and multiplex devices whether the spectral information is collected sequentially, simultaneously in parallel mode, or simultaneously in multiplexed mode are also compared with respect to their advantages and limitations for measuring atomic spectra and for multielement analysis. In this review, a comparison of atomic spectroscopic methods and optical detection devices is given. The comparison is given with respect to signal-to-noise ratio, experimental limits of detection, and other practical analytical figures of merit. It is hoped that this review will aid the analyst in selecting a multielement atomic method for trace analysis and especially make the analyst aware of the unavoidable tradeoffs in such a selection.