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Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (AES)

Last updated: November 24, 2020

What Does Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (AES) Mean?

Atomic emission spectroscopy (AES) is an analytical tool used to determine and quantify the elemental composition of a material. Atomic emission spectroscopy works by forcing a sample material to a high-energy state using a separate energy source. The wavelengths of light emitted from the sample material's atoms are recorded, and the wavelengths are used to determine the composition of the sample material.


Corrosionpedia Explains Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (AES)

Atomic emission spectroscopy uses one of several possible energy sources to send the sample material to a high-energy state. Flame, inductively coupled plasma, and electrical arc are just a few of the energy sources used.

In flame atomic emission spectroscopy, the wavelengths recorded are from the light emitted by different atoms as they return to a lower energy state from a higher energy state. Flame atomic emission spectroscopy is usually limited to alkali metals.

In inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy, the wavelengths recorded are from the electromagnetic radiation emitted while the atoms of the material are in their excited state. Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy is less susceptible to interference than flame atomic emission spectroscopy and can handle many different elements.


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