How to Choose the Right Atomic Spectroscopic Technique: 5 Ways!


Atomic Spectroscopy is the technique used to determine the electrical components of the analyte through its mass spectrum. Nowadays, several techniques are available, and choosing the right one certainly helps provide you with reliable, accurate, and real-world results.  

Each of the techniques comes with its unique limitations and individual strengths. Atomic Spectroscopy Instrumentation is used in various industries, including Agriculture, Biomonitoring, Chemical, Industrial, Environmental, Food, Geochemical, Mining, Nanomaterials, Nuclear Energy, Petrochemical, Pharmaceutical, Renewable energy, Semiconductor, and single-cell analysis.  

There are various techniques available today that can be used for Atomic Spectroscopy, including Flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy, and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry.  

As discussed above, each of the techniques comes with different strengths and limitations. FAAS technique is easy to use, while the GFAAS provides you with good detection limits. ICP AES is known as the economic process, while the ICP MS provides you with higher productivity. Hence it becomes difficult to decide on which one to choose. Here we will talk about a few of the ways to determine the right atomic spectroscopic technique.  


Most Atomic Spectroscopy techniques are used in various industries. Talking about the application factor, you can use these techniques in various industries such as Metallurgy, Environmental, Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Mining, Chemicals, Food, and Beverages, etc. Here you would need to analyze your industry first before considering the application of any one of these techniques.  

Here the application is depending upon the type of element used in the technique. For example, the rare earth element analysis is performed in a better way with quadrupole ICP MS while the sulfur analysis is done with the magnetic sector ICP MS.  

Speed Of Measurement  

The second factor which is considered to determine the usage of atomic spectroscopy in the respective industry is the speed of measurement. There are several checks that you can do to analyze it. You can check the number of samples that the technique can analyze in the given time. You can also check for the number of elements that can be determined during the process. This measurement cycle consists of three steps: an equilibrium period, a measurement period, and a rinse-out period.  

Ease of Use  

The ease of use is also considered while choosing the right atomic spectroscopy. Each of the techniques comes with a different usage method. The FAAS technique is considered to be the easiest one to set up. Here the method of development is easy. The technique of GFAAS is considered a bit difficult to set up due to the accuracy of sample injection required to get the results. ICP AES technique is knowns for easy setup and can be adjusted accordingly. ICP MS is easy to set up since it involves multiple techniques during development.  

Operator Skill  

Every technique requires a skilled and trained technician to operate it. Hence the usage of it depends upon the operator skills as well. Flame AAS technology is known to be easy to set up with minimum operator skills. Furnace AA is considered difficult to handle, and it requires a high level of ability and knowledge. ICP ACES is considered as the intermediate one as it is easier to operate than the Furnace AA. ICP MS is the new entry in these techniques, and here you would need a skilled person to operate it.  

Detection Limits  

Detection Limit is known as one of the important factors to determine the right technique for Atomic Spectroscopy. The detection limit of the technique helps you to decide on the best technique used for the process.  

Let’s discuss it with an example to understand better. If you talk about Contract Required Detection Limits, it is generally specified with the help of USEPA in case of toxic metals in drinking water is considerably lower than the one of FAAS. According to the experts, ICP MS provides you with the best detection limits, which are up to 1 to 10 ppb, while the ICP AES produces the detection limit of 1 to 10ppb.  

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