Guide to Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS): How It Works, Application and Advantages

by Rohan Mathew
Guide to Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS): How It Works, Application and Advantages

AAS is a procedure that scientists use to measure the concentration of a metallic element in various materials. The technique uses electromagnetic wavelengths originating from a source of light for analysis. The scientists test the amount of light the free ions in a sample absorbs to determine the concentration of the atoms.

How AAS Works

When using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), the scientist introduces a solution containing analyze in a flame. The flame then converts this sample into atoms. That is, the researcher passes a lamp that emits wavelength to the sample via the flame. As the atoms absorb the light energy, the electrons in the atoms rise to an excited state.  

Applications

This procedure is helpful in many industries, including archaeology, manufacturing, pharmacology, forensics, and mining.

Forensics

Researchers have been using the AAS technique for several years to carry out an in-depth analysis of brain and muscle tissues, gunshot powder residue, and blood samples. The accuracy of toxicology reports has improved over time due to this technology. The forensic pathologist can easily detect mercury and lead poisoning particles even if they are in negligible amounts.

Agriculture

AAS is helpful in the study of environmental sciences and agriculture. The researchers use it to identify and analyze potentially harmful elements in the environment. It helps with soil sample analysis and the effects of low or high quality of the soil on the rate of food production in other areas.

Besides, it can also help identify the concentration of any elements in drinking water, seawater, and rivers.

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Other industries

Atomic absorption spectroscopy helps measure the concentration of elements in fruit drinks, wine, and beer in the food and drink industry. It can also assist with the identification of food contamination.

AAS is also critical for determining small quantities of impurities in the manufacture of drugs by pharmaceutical companies.

Advantages of AAS

AAS has many benefits, including

Accuracy

The technique is famous for producing accurate results with low probabilities of errors. That is, there are minor deviations from actual results when researchers carry out further analysis.

Sensitivity

The technique is sensitive and can measure significant quantities of a substance. The high sensitivity is due to the use of spectrometers. For instance, in the pharmaceutical industry, AAS helps discover and eliminate impure or unwanted byproducts of a catalyst known as Petro. In addition, in medicine, doctors use the procedure to detect the quantity of traces of toxins in patients’ bodies or medication. Therefore, it contributes to the saving of lives.

Easily Accessible

AAS devices such as spectrometers are easily accessible. Therefore, researchers can easily do their studies and come up with valuable findings. The process also relies on radiation and absorption of light, making it accessible to other previously inaccessible fields. For instance, in mining, the miners use the technique to determine if a rock contains minerals and hence worth mining.

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Costs

AAS uses less cost of running compared to other methods. It also works perfectly with small sample sizes in getting accurate results. Hence, it’s an economical and efficient testing method.

AAS is an essential technique useful in many industries. Researchers can find atomic absorption spectrometers in various sites, which they can then use in carrying out groundbreaking studies.

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