Although atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) is often still used in elemental analysis, in recent years, we have largely moved to the more modern technique of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).
AAS is used to measure the absorption of ultraviolet or visible light through neutral, unexcited gaseous atoms.
With ICP-MS, atomisation in an argon-plasma flame at 5,000 – 8,000 °C is directly followed by measurement of the number of ions of a specific mass-to-charge ratio. This enables the identification of considerably lower concentrations and of several elements simultaneously.
To this end, the sample being examined is completely dissolved and diluted with an aqueous solvent (acid or basic). Serum, various plasmas, heparin und EDTA blood, erythrocyte liquid and urine can all be used for analysis.
Key – material for analysis U = Urine, S = Serum*, P=Plasma*, E = EDTA blood, Ec = Erythrocytes
*It is important here to only use suitable tubes for sampling (trace element tubes) as many standard sampling materials are heavily contaminated with aluminium, zinc and other elements.
We would be pleased to provide further details on the correct selection of sampling materials.
Further elements available on request.