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Published by: Nitiyanandanathan Kamalanathan on May 02, 2013
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• Physical spectroscopists use emitted light. • Spectroscopy is defined as the interaction of light and matter and has both physical and analytical applications. . or scattered light in order to understand the mechanics of a chemical system.• Analytical chemistry is the science of accurate and precise qualitative and quantitative measurements involving chemical systems. absorbed light.

manufactured goods. soil. liquids.• Atomic (or optical) emission spectrometry (AES. . • AES used for measurement of trace elements in rocks. • The technique is used to monitor the levels of different chemicals and trace elements in the environment and to determine the compositions of solids. water. and biological specimens. and gases. OES) is an important technique for the multi element analysis of a wide range of materials.

. • This is accompanied by the emission of electromagnetic radiation. Due resolution of the emitted radiation generates an emission spectrum. • In atomic emission spectrometry (AES) a reproducible and representative amount of the sample is introduced into an atomization-excitation source where it is converted into atomic vapours of the analyte in excited state. whose detailed analysis can be exploited to obtain qualitative as well as quantitative details of the analyte. • This radiation is characteristic of the constituents of the sample. normally in the form of light in the UV-VIS region.• Atomic spectra are derived from the transition of electrons from one discrete electron orbital in an atom to another.

Fig 1 : Schematic diagram of an Atomic Emission Spectrometer .

• provide for the analysis of samples in all possible forms like. . gases or slurries. • have appropriate energy to ensure complete atomization but keep ionization to a minimum. negligible background radiation. need minimal maintenance and be easy to operate. solids. • inexpensive. so as to keep the undesirable molecular species formation to a minimum. liquids. • • provide an inert environment.An ideal atomization-excitation source should have the following characteristics : • completely separate the analyte from its original matrix so as to minimize interferences.

microwave plasmas. to dc plasmas. lasers and inductively coupled plasma (ICP). ac spark and universal arc-spark.Advantages of AES • • • • • increased atomization/excitation wider range of elements emission from multiple species simultaneously wide dynamic range These extend from dc arc. . glow discharge lamps.

Detector: a radiation detection device 5. 1. Nebuliser : a sample introduction device 3. Monochromator: a dispersion device 4. Processing and readout device .Instrument of ICP-AES The essential components of a plasma based atomic emission spectrometer are as given below. Plasma source: an atomisation-excitation device 2.

Types of AES • Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) • Direct current plasma (DCP) • Microwave induced plasma (MIP) .

generally argon.1. The energy transfer is mediated by an induction in that produces a magnetic field which helps in establishing and sustaining the plasma. . Inductively Coupled Plasma(ICP) • ICP is plasma induced by radiofrequency. a typical inductively coupled plasma source is called a torch. • The energy of a high frequency generator is transferred to a gas. flowing at atmospheric pressure.

1: A schematic section diagram of an ICP torch .Fig.

• Argon gas supply : .• Quartz tube: .conventional argon plasma torch uses between 13 and 20 liters of argon per minute .consists of a water-cooled induction coil that is powered by a radio frequency generator. • Work coil: . The gas traveling up the central channel is called auxiliary gas and also has a tangential flow pattern.The body of the torch consists of three concentric quartz tubes. The innermost third inlet is connected to the nebuliser from which the gas enters the plasma along with the sample in a laminar flow.

and Ar is common. This sputtering process is often referred to as glow-discharge excitation. • Samples can be deposited on one of the electrodes.2. Direct Current Plasma(DCP) • DCP is created by an electrical discharge between two electrodes. or if conducting can make up one electrode. A plasma support gas is necessary. Insulating solid samples are placed near the discharge so that ionized gas atoms sputter the sample into the gas phase where the analyte atoms are excited. .


• A microwave radiation of a frequency of 2450 MHz is commonly used.3. Microwave Induced Plasma • In a microwave induced plasma (MIP) source frequencies in the microwave region are used as external energy source. • A microwave induced plasma is obtained when the ultrahigh frequency ac power is capacitatively coupled into a stream of noble gas (helium or argon) or nitrogen at about 3 dm3 /min. . in a resonant cavity.

. • A conical hollow nozzle acts as the tip of the torch through which the plasma gas argon flows. sensitivity. high power MIP (800W) are more robust and can vaporise and atomise aerosols without desolvation. • The MIP is also useful for the excitation of volatile hydride forming elements after stripping the hydrides from the excess of hydrogen. • The small size of microwave sources is an advantage over the ICP because it makes it more flexible and less expensive. • However. the sample is also injected through the same. reproducibility. the MIP is found to be inferior to the ICP in respect of detection limits.• Low power MIP (50 to 100W) cannot accept solution aerosols without prior desolvation. As there is only one flow channel. ionization interference and etc.

Fig.3: A schematic diagram showing the generation of a microwave induced plasma .

Application of AES As many as 60 elements can be determined by ICP-AES in a wide range of analyte samples such as rocks. . • Geological sciences presence of lanthanides and other elements in rock samples. Cu in brain tissue. Fe. Health sciences • Determination of Al in blood. Na in breast milk. • Agricultural science Analysis of agricultural products and foods besides soil analysis. Direct determination of Ca. air. Cu. food analysis. 2. 3. 1. etc. forestry ecology. Se in liver. Forensic Sciences • crime scene soil analysis. Na and K in serum samples. Mg. minerals. water. soil . 4. agriculture.

• traces of metals like Ca. Mg. determination of pollutant metals in variety of matrices. 6.5. Environmental science • waste water analysis. Cu. determination of trace elements in polymers. and Si in lubricating oils or gasoline at tracer concentration. 7. Fe. and so on. Ni. Industry • presence of metals like Cu. . K and Zn in beer or wine. Mn. evaluation of catalysts. Metallurgy • analysis of trace elements in stainless steel. Fe. P.

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