The aim of this work is to review and compare the present possibilities of electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS), electrothermal vaporization-inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ETV-ICP-OES) and electrothermal vaporization-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ETV-ICP-MS) for analysis of solid samples, slurries and complex matrixes. The paper keeps in perspective the historical evolution of these techniques, providing an overview of the most relevant advances in instrumentation, methodology and fundamentals and highlighting the most relevant applications carried out during the last decade. The benefits of continuum source-AAS, the possible impact of diode lasers on this technique, the potential of ETV-ICP-methods for fractionation/speciation studies, as well as for resolving spectral interferences, and the influence of the different types of ICP-MS instrumentation currently available on the overall performance of ETV-ICP-MS will be some of the aspects discussed in more detail.
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