Atomic Absorption (AA) Spectroscopy is a quantitative analysis technique that uses the absorption of light through a flame and gaseous chemicals. AA Spectroscopy can be used for a multitude of purposes, most notably finding the concentration of one or a few elements in a compound. AA Spectroscopy can work in two different ways using an open flame and gaseous chemicals or a graphite furnace. Flame AA Spectroscopy works by taking a compound or element and disassociating it into an aqueous solution. The solution is then blown through an incredibly small nozzle which nebulizes the liquid into a very fine mist. The nebulized liquid is then blown through a flame with a very small beam of light passing through it. This light beam detects different elements in the flame and uses the known light absorbance of the element to determine the concentration of the element in the solution. The other form of AA Spectroscopy uses a graphite furnace to heat up and incinerate a sample. A solid compound is placed in the furnace which then heats up to 2000-3000 C effectively atomizing the compound and in the process turning the rest into ash. The light beam is then shot through the furnace as the solid is being heated and subsequently atomized and the machine records the absorbance rate much like the Flame AA Spectroscopy would. The difference between flame and furnace spectroscopy is in the atomization of the sample; because the Flame Spectroscopy uses pressure to atomize the compound, much of the compound is lost when sprayed out of the nozzle or condenses while still in the tube; leading to a diluted sample which can easily be obscured by other elements including the gases powering the flames. The graphite furnace would be used when there w...
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...the furnace spectroscopy is, that unlike flame spectroscopy, which wastes a significant portion of the sample, it uses it uses almost the entire sample it is analyzing which means that furnace AA spectroscopy can use a much smaller sample size and still receive very accurate results. Another big advantage with furnace spectroscopy that wasn’t shown in the lab was that furnace spectroscopy can be used for both liquids and solids, whereas flame spectroscopy can only analyze liquids. Furnace spectroscopy also analyzes the sample much faster than flame spectroscopy since flame spectroscopy takes much more time in between individual measurements. Despite the apparent shortcoming flame spectroscopy has more precision than the furnace spectroscopy as shown in the data the flame spectroscopy has much closer numbers where the furnace spectroscopy seems to have more variance.
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