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Glow Discharge Atomic Spectroscopy

Volume 49, Number 7 (July 1995) Page 12A-19A

Broekaert, José A.C.

Glow discharge sources (GDSs) have long been used in atomic spectrometry. In particular, they are recognized as sources for atomic emission research in connection with the early work of Paschen with hollow cathodes, which later were studied in detail as the primary sources for atomic absorption work. In its initial stage, glow discharge analytical emission spectrometry also made use mainly of hollow cathodes, which became widespread for the determination of very low absolute concentrations of all elements including most nonmetals. However, for routine analysis of compacted metal samples, the break-through first occurred at the end of the sixties with the work of Grimm, who introduced a restricted GDS in which flat samples were directly mounted as a cathode. As an atomic emission device, the source became widespread in industry for bulk and especially for depth-profiling purposes. Also, for atomic absorption and atomic fluorescence work, GDSs proved to be very valuable as atom reservoirs, and the appropriate analytical techniques were developed.