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Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometry

Atomic Spectroscopy

  1. Xiandeng Hou1,
  2. Bradley T. Jones2

Published Online: 13 JUN 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a5110.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Hou, X. and Jones, B. T. 2008. Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometry. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

  2. 2

    Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 JUN 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (9 MAR 2016)


Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) is a powerful tool for the determination of metals in a variety of different sample matrices. With this technique, liquid samples are injected into a radiofrequency (RF)-induced argon plasma using one of a variety of nebulizers or sample introduction techniques. The sample mist reaching the plasma is quickly dried, vaporized, and energized through collisional excitation at high temperature. The atomic emission emanating from the plasma is viewed in either a radial or axial configuration, collected with a lens or mirror, and imaged onto the entrance slit of a wavelength selection device. Single element measurements can be performed cost-effectively with a simple monochromator-photomultiplier tube (PMT) combination, and simultaneous multielement determinations are performed for up to 70 elements with the combination of a polychromator and an array detector. The analytical performance of such systems is competitive with most other inorganic analysis techniques, especially with regard to sample throughput and sensitivity.