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Atomic absorption spectrometry


Atomic absorption spectrometry involves the measurement of light absorption to determine the concentration of specific atoms. The light source is a hollow cathode lamp of the element being measured. The samples are introduced into a high temperature flame produced by a mixture of air and acetylene. The atoms in the sample absorb light from the source, causing electrons to move to higher energy levels. A light detector set at a particular wavelength (monochrometer) measures the light absorbed by that element. This method is more sensitive than flame photometry.