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Hitachi High-Tech GLOBAL

Q: "How does an atomic absorption photometer work?"
A: An atomic absorption photometer works like a spectrophotometer.
Shown below are diagrams of a spectrophotometer and an atomic absorption photometer. Please compare these diagrams for similarities and differences.

Differences between a spectrophotometer and an atomic absorption photometer

  1. Different light sources are used.
    Spectrophotometer: Continuum source
    Atomic absorption photometer: Emission line source (the meaning of the term, 'emission line' will be explained later.)
  2. The structures of the specimen chambers are completely different.
    Spectrophotometer: Only injects a specimen into a cell.
    Atomic absorption photometer: Burns a specimen using a burner, etc as shown in the diagram.
  3. Different locations for the spectroscope
    Spectrophotometer: In front of the specimen chamber
    Atomic absorption photometer: Behind the specimen chamber

Q: "Why is there such difference?"
A: The answer to this question will become clear, if the principle of the atomic absorption photometer is understood.