Time saving tips for analysis by AAS spectroscopy


Planning helps before start of analysis

AAS Spectroscopy provides cost-effective analysis of trace metals in a vast range of samples both natural and man-made such as geological samples, foods, plants, agricultural samples, soils, rocks, biological specimens, manufacturing streams, industrial effluents, pharmaceuticals and drinking water. The technique provides precise results and is a great time saver in comparison with the conventional gravimetric methods in earlier days.

Effective time management is essential in planning your analysis to sustain high sample throughputs. Apart from planning the analysis you should ensure beforehand that the objectives of the analysis are well understood.

Analysis objectives

  • Elements to be determined
  • Expected concentration levels
  • Matrix composition of the sample
  • Quantity of sample available
  • Sample pretreatment requirement, if necessary

Once the information on the above points is gathered the next step is to plan your analysis. The following tips will help you to get maximum output in limited available time.

Time saving tips

  • Availability of reference standards or certified reference materials for the elements to be determined
  • Dilutions of standards should be kept ready in advance to prepare a calibration plot over the required concentration range
  • Clean and calibrated volumetric glassware should be available before the start of determinations
  • Samples are properly labelled and dilutions are also clearly marked so that chances of mixing or omission are ruled out
  • Hollow cathode lamps or Electrodeless discharge lamps required for elements to be analyzed are available with required useable energy levels
  • As AAS is a sequential elemental analysis technique samples requiring common element determinations should be grouped together otherwise lamp change and warm-up can be time consuming
  • Check for sufficient gas pressures in gas tanks before start of analysis and standby supplies should be kept ready
  • Time between sample collection or preparation and analysis should be kept minimum to prevent contamination by the storage container or adsorption of trace metals to be determined by the container walls

Above all a stock of essential spares should be maintained to fix common operational problems that can arise and take a toll on your precious time.

About Dr. Deepak Bhanot

Dr Deepak Bhanot is a seasoned professional having nearly 30 years expertise beginning from sales and product support of analytical instruments. After completing his graduation and post graduation from Delhi University and IIT Delhi he went on to Loughborough University of Technology, UK for doctorate research in analytical chemistry. His mission is to develop training programs on analytical techniques and share his experiences with broad spectrum of users ranging from professionals engaged in analytical development and research as well as young enthusiasts fresh from academics who wish to embark upon a career in analytical industry.


  1. GANESAN.T says:

    Dear sir:
    Thank you very much sir , i have experience in minerals and organic department , very simple control the Prevention of contamination in trace metal analysis and laboratories.
    Like Glassware, spatula, storage container whatever we are using inorganic section -we can use Metal free Glassware, spatula, storage container etc .

  2. Dur-e-Shahwar Gul says:

    Sir how to prepared standard solutions ??? Pre treatment procedures? ?? How to work with them please guide .I am just started don’t know. Anything about it.

    • Standard solutions are generally available from reputed suppliers alongwith certificate of analysis giving the concentration of analytes of interest. Commonly these are available as stock solutions at high concentrations,eg 1000ppm. You have to take out required quantity and dilute it once or number of times to get the desired concentration levels for preparing your calibration plots.Use the blank solution to make dilutions.

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