Everything You Need to Know About Absorption Spectroscopy

by Jones David

Agilent absorption spectroscopy can give you complete scientific solutions and superior outcomes in measuring the metallic element concentrations of different materials. You’ll achieve better results by using dependable instruments in your pursuit of life sciences, diagnostics, and chemical analysis.

1. Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) Definition

When measuring the concentration of a material’s gas-phase atoms, you use a technique known as Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS). By measuring the light absorbed by the free ions of a given sample, you can measure the concentration of gas-phase atoms.

There are approximately 70 elements detectable by an AAS, but you may still need to experiment with different samples. Roughly 75% of the earth’s chemical elements are metals. The AAS is used to determine a given sample metal atom’s concentration. A material’s metal content can be either desirable or contaminant.

2. Basic Principles Of Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy

First, different wavelengths of light are absorbed by each type of ion or atom. When light with a frequency similar to copper is shone on a sample of copper and nickel, only the copper atoms accumulate the light. The concentration of the ions or atoms that absorb light determines how much light is absorbed in a given wavelength.

3. Uses Of Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy

AAS has many laboratory and testing use. Generally, commercial, research, and clinical settings use AAS in many ways. You can use AAS for quality regulation. The mining industry conducts tests for valuable materials concentration. Raw materials need an inspection to check if there are enough main elements and less harmful impurities.

Pharmaceutical companies check for toxicology using AAS; to review the number of catalyst materials commonly used in manufacturing drugs. AAS is also used in environmental tests; to measure the concentration of different elements in drinking water, seawater, and rivers. The food and beverage industry uses AAS to measure contamination in food testing. Agriculture and petrochemical industries also use AAS.

4. How Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy Works

Atomic absorption spectrometry locates elements in solid or liquid samples by applying the electromagnetic radiation of a light source. Wavelengths are absorbed differently by each element, and these are measured against standards. Analytes are first atomized to emit and record the wavelengths.

During excitation, electrons will move up one energy level in their atoms after the atoms absorb a specific energy. Energy corresponds to a wavelength. Elements and concentration can be found depending on the intensity of the wavelength. And once the electrons return to their original state before excitation, energy in the form of light is radiated.

5. Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy in Agriculture

Using AAS in agriculture is fairly popular. AAS is typically used to classify and assess dangerous elements that may be present in the system. You can use AAS to study soil samples and the effects of soil quality on food production.

Soil tests with high nitrogen and phosphorus can produce more input quantities and better crops. You can determine the quantity and identity of elements using atomic absorption and atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (AFS). AAS and AFS can also detect the presence of small concentrations of hazardous chemicals like rhodium in water.

6. Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy in Forensics

AAS has been used in forensic sciences for many years. Using AAS, forensic sciences examine brain and muscle tissue, bullet powder traces, and blood samples. Using AAS increases the accuracy of toxicology studies in metal poisoning. Even with a small amount of mercury and lead, AAS can quickly detect metal toxicity.

AAS is an efficient tool for operating with very limited sample sizes, which makes this an effective, inexpensive, and simple tool for testing.

7. The Strengths of Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy 

Using AAS has more advantages than disadvantages. There will be a relatively low cost per analysis. AAS is easy to operate, has high accuracy, can detect up to ppb with high sensitivity, is mostly free from inter-element interference, and is applicable across various industries.

8. The Limitations of Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy 

Purchasing new equipment is costly. AAS can only detect metals, not non-metals, and is mostly geared toward liquid analysis and can destroy your sample.

You Can Use Absorption Spectroscopy

Absorption spectroscopy is preferred by many due to its incredible helpfulness in chemical analysis. Atomic spectroscopy is crucial as the basis of analytical techniques contributing data on elemental concentrations and isotopic ratios. The data provides the raw material in geochemistry.

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