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Peak Area vs Peak Height in Flameless Atomic Absorption Measurements

Volume 31, Number 2 (April 1977) Page 171-172

Issaq, Haleem J.; Young, Robert M.


The most significant advance in atomic absorption spectroscopy in recent years has been the development of flameless devices for the generation of atomic vapor. These devices have been widely discussed. The sample is completely evaporated in less than 1 sec, which requires the use of a fast response recorder. The parameter most widely used for measuring signals in flameless atomic absorption spectroscopy is peak height, where peak height is proportional to concentration of atomic vapor produced by the tube or filament atomizer. An alternative method for measuring the absorbance signal is to measure the integrated absorbance, i.e., the area under the peak. One way to measure the area under the peak is to cut and weigh the recorder chart tracings. Improved precision and increases in linear ranges have been reported using peak area. Recently, Sturgeon et al. examined the results of preliminary investigation of the potential of an electronic integration method vs the peak height method of measuring signals generated by Varian's carbon rod atomizer (CRA 63) and Perkin-Elmer's hollow graphite atomizer (HGA-2100). Using a programmable calculator, Bancroft et al. showed that the peak area method gives better results than the peak height method.