Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission (ICP-AES) spectrometry is an emission spectrophotometric technique used for analysis of solutions and solid samples after a dissolution step. ICP-AES can determine major, minor, trace and rare earth multi-element compositions to high degree of accuracy and precision, measuring trace element at a low range (1 ppb – 100 ppm).
Typical applications include the analysis of rock, soil and environmental samples, ground- and surface waters, landfill leachates and brine samples, as well as archaeological related materials.
ICP-AES technique exploits the fact that excited atoms emit energy at a given wavelength as they return to the ground state following excitation by the high temperature of an argon plasma. Each element emits light peculiar to the electronic configuration of the orbital. By measuring the wavelengths of light emitted the elements in the sample can be identified and by measuring the amount of light emitted the concentration of the element in the original sample can be measured.
Our laboratory is equipped with a Varian Vista MXP Rad ICP-AES which allows to simultaneously determine the concentrations of multiple elements in the sample. The solution to be analyzed is pumped by a peristaltic pump into the nebulizer to form an aerosol of fine droplets by a stream of argon gas. The aerosol passes through the spray chamber and then to the quartz plasma torch. The high temperature of the plasma (7,000 – 10,000 K) ionizes and excites the atoms. The plasma is produced by a spark from a tesla coil and maintained by a high-frequency electrical current in the induction coil powered by an RF (radio frequency) power supply. The RF current produces a magnetic field causing the ions and electrons to flow in a circular path. This results in collisions between particles and extreme heating. A flow of argon protects the quartz torch from overheating. The emitted light from the ions of the plasma passes through a monochromator where it is separated into its different wavelengths. The light hits a CCD (charge-coupled device) detector where thousands of individual pixels capture the light and convert it into a digital signal.
The ICP-AES laboratory provides analytical services for research groups and individuals. Please contact Please contact the Scientifc Responsable or Technical Responsible if you have any questions regarding the facility and services.
Some images of the Laboratory