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Issue 9, 2004
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Comparing several atomic spectrometric methods to the super stars: special emphasis on laser induced breakdown spectrometry, LIBS, a future super star

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Abstract

The “super stars” of analytical atomic spectrometry are electrothermal atomization-atomic absorption spectrometry (ETA-AAS), inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Many other atomic spectrometric methods have been used to determine levels of elements present in solid, liquid and gaseous samples, but in most cases these other methods are inferior to the big three super star methods. The other atomic methods include glow discharge emission, absorption and mass spectrometric methods, laser excited fluorescence emission and ionization methods, and flame and microwave plasma emission and mass spectrometric methods. These “lesser” methods will be compared to the “super star” methods based on a number of figures of merit, including detection power, selectivity, multi-element capability, cost, applications, and “age” of the methods. The “age” of the method will be determined by a modification of the well-known Laitinen “Seven Ages of an Analytical Method” (H.A. Laitinen, Anal. Chem., 1973, 45, 2305). Calculations will show that certain methods are capable of single atom detection, including several atomic absorption methods, as well as laser atomic ionization and fluorescence methods. The comparison of methods will indicate why the “super stars” of atomic spectrometric methods will continue to retain their status and what must be done for the lesser atomic methods to approach “super star” status. Certainly most of the lesser atomic spectrometric methods will have a limited place in the analytical arena. Because of the wide current interest and research activity, special emphasis will be placed on the technique of laser induced breakdown spectrometry (LIBS). Its current status and future developments will therefore be reviewed.

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Article information


Submitted
09 Jan 2004
Accepted
22 Mar 2004
First published
18 May 2004

J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2004,19, 1061-1083
Article type
Review Article

Comparing several atomic spectrometric methods to the super stars: special emphasis on laser induced breakdown spectrometry, LIBS, a future super star

J. D. Winefordner, I. B. Gornushkin, T. Correll, E. Gibb, B. W. Smith and N. Omenetto, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2004, 19, 1061
DOI: 10.1039/B400355C

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