Unlocking Elemental Analysis: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy in Scientific Laboratories

Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) is an instrumental analysis technique ideal for determining trace elemental concentrations. With outstanding sensitivity and selectivity, atomic absorption is deployed across scientific laboratories to advance research and ensure quality.

How AAS Works

In AAS, a liquid sample is aspirated into a flame, atomizing the elements. A light beam from a lamp containing the target element is directed through the flame into a monochromator and onto a detector. If that element is present in the sample, absorption occurs proportional to concentration.

Lasany International offers high-performance atomic absorption spectroscopy featuring powerful xenon lamps, double monochromators, and charge-coupled device array detectors. Lasany systems provide part-per-billion sensitivity, multi-element analysis, and a wide linear range.

Metals Analysis Across Industries

Quantifying metals is critical in fields from agriculture to electronics. For example, AAS analyzes nutrient metals like iron, zinc, and manganese in soils and plants to monitor deficiency. Toxic heavy metals including lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium are measured to ensure the safety of foods.

In manufacturing, AAS monitors impurity metals in chemicals and raw materials to specifications down to ppb levels. Environmental testing utilizes AAS to evaluate hazardous metals in water and air pollution. Clinical labs use AAS to assess essential and toxic metal biomarkers in biological samples.

Not Just Metals: Carbon Detection in Diamonds

While best known for metals analysis, AAS also quantifies other elements. For the gem industry, the carbon concentration distinguishes natural diamonds from synthetic ones. Using a carbon hollow cathode lamp, AAS sensitively measures this nonmetal analyte.

Speciation Analysis by Hydride Generation

Certain elements like arsenic, selenium, and antimony form volatile hydrides, allowing enhanced sensitivity. Atomic absorption with hydride generation converts these elements into atomized hydrides for analysis down to ppt levels. This technique also provides valuable speciation data.

Kinetic Studies with Stopped-Flow AAS

With stopped-flow accessories, rapid kinetic processes are studied by mixing reagents, stopping the flow, and measuring absorption. Lasany’s stopped-flow AAS allows sub-second kinetic analysis of metal-ligand binding, catalytic reactions, and more. This research furthers our understanding of reaction mechanisms.

High-Throughput Analysis with Automated AAS Lasany’s auto-sampler, controlled by software, robotically handles samples from microplates and test tubes. Up to 240 samples can be measured unattended, enabling automated overnight studies. For industrial QA/QC, auto-sampling increases productivity and precision.

Microwave Digestion for Sample Preparation

Since AAS requires liquids, digestion converts solid samples into solutions. Microwave digestion uses high temperature and pressure to dissolve resistant solids efficiently. Integrated systems digest, transfer and measure samples straight from closed vessels minimizing contamination.

Complementary Techniques for Comprehensive Analysis

While extremely sensitive to metal concentrations, AAS provides limited qualitative information. Identifying unknown metals may require ICP techniques. Nonmetals analysis utilizes atomic fluorescence. Organic elemental analysis employs CHNOS systems. AAS combined with other spectroscopy and chromatography delivers complete characterization.

Lasany International’s diverse spectrometry portfolio includes innovative UV-visible spectrophotometer, fluorescence, and immunoassay platforms alongside AAS and ICP instrumentation. With unmatched analyte specificity, sensitivity, and versatility, atomic absorption empowers laboratories to explore frontiers in science and industry.