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  6. 1. Atomic Absorption Photometer

1. Atomic Absorption Photometer

Q: "What does an atomic absorption photometer measure?"

A: It is a system which mainly measures the concentration of metallic elements (quantitative analysis).

Q: "What are metallic elements?"

A: They are elements corresponding to metallic elementary substances. For example, calcium, which is an ingredient in our bones, or sodium and potassium, which are contained in alkali drinking water are metallic elements.
The metallic elements which can be measured are shown in the following periodic table.

  • Sixty-nine elements can be analyzed.
  • The elements which can be measured are shaded.
  • The peripheral equipment which needs to be prepared varies by element. Please refer to the supplemental data for details.

Q: "What concentrations can it measure?"

A: It can measure from ppm to ppb.

Q: "Just a moment. What are ppm and ppb?"

A: These are units indicating concentration, similar to percent.
The 'm' and 'b' in ppm and ppb stand for million and billion, respectively.
That is, 1% means 1/100, ppm means 1/million and ppb means 1/billion.
To illustrate simply, 1% would mean one person in 100 people, while 1 ppm would be one person in one million people. Do you understand? Please see the following concentration conversion table.

Generally a measurement sample is a solution specimen. Solution concentration units
1 ppm=1/1,000,000=10-6=0.0001%
1 ppm=1 mg/L=1 µg/mL

1 ppb=0.001 ppm=10-9
1 ppt=0.001 ppb=10-12=1trillion1

1 ppb=1 µg/L=1 ng/mL
1 ppt=1 ng/L=1 pg/mL


Application Fields

Q: "Where is it used?"

A :The concentrations of mineral ingredients are indicated on commercial water. An atomic absorption photometer is used for measuring these concentrations. (Foods)
The concentrations of contained metals may determine the safety or flavor of groundwater. The atomic absorption photometer is also used for measuring these concentrations. (Environment)
It is said that the concentration of aluminum in serum is related to Alzheimer's disease, etc. An atomic absorption photometer is used for measuring aluminum concentration. (Medicine) In addition, this system is widely used in the chemistry and metal fields.


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