If you want to know how much of a specific element you have in your sample, you may use ICP-OES, an analytical technique. It is utilized for environmental safety assessments and elements that have an increased regulatory limitation to measure.

You have to know how well the instrument works to evaluate different designs and physical parts, how easy it is to use, and how reliable it is. These considerations are essential when deciding which instrument to buy or which seller to work with. This post will teach you how to evaluate ICP OES instruments.

How to Select the Correct ICP-OES Wavelength

Choosing which wavelength to employ for each analyte is a typical cause of difficulty when first establishing a technique for inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Even though no one rule applies to every analyte in every sample, the following stages can serve as a guide:

Make Sure You’re Using Single Element Standards

Determine if the principal components interfere with the analytes of interest now that they have been identified. It is possible to anticipate some interferences since they are well-known. What about a steel sample with a high content of iron (Fe) and chromium (Cr), for example? It is possible to find the principal wavelengths of these two elements. 

However, even small wavelengths can produce interference at high concentrations. A steel sample has large amounts of minor iron and chromium wavelengths, which are powerful and can create interferences.

Decide on the Software’s Top One or Two Recommendation Wavelengths

Each element has a suggested wavelength that may be found in instrument software. The sequence in which wavelengths are presented is often dictated by factors like intensity, background, and interferences that often occur in real-world applications.

Select at least two or three wavelengths for each element in your first technique development to determine the most suited for typical samples. If you choose more than two or three wavelengths, you may have a considerable and overwhelming amount of data.

Make Use of a Standardized Approach to Select Wavelengths

Analyte wavelength recommendations are included in several internationally recognized standards. It is recommended that these wavelengths be utilized whenever feasible.

Use at least two to three wavelengths if several wavelengths are provided for the target element. Due to a lack of availability, the most highly suggested wavelength may not be accessible on all ICP-OES devices. Select a different wavelength that is suggested in this situation.

Do Your Research

Application notes, online libraries, and journal papers are all excellent sources of knowledge that may be consulted to learn more about the various wavelength possibilities. 

There is a chance that the kind of sample you want to study has, in point of fact, previously been studied by someone else. As a result, the wavelengths other people have utilized might serve as points of departure when selecting wavelengths for your investigation.

Look at the Peak Shapes Following the Analysis

Analysis of samples will begin now that the wavelengths have been selected. The sample spectra should be assessed when the analysis is complete. Compare the spectra of the sample to a standard that only includes the analytes you are looking for. There should be no problem if they are comparable. 

To rule out interference, a peak shape that deviates greatly from the standard indicates that a new wavelength has to be found or the existing one needs to be corrected.

How does ICP OES Instrument Work?

ICP-OES instruments work by using their principle. In order for the ICP-OES principle to work, excited atoms must release light at particular wavelengths when they decelerate to a lower energy level. An electron produces light with a particular wavelength as it transitions from a higher energy level to a lower one, often the ground state.

A stream of argon gas transforms the liquid sample into a fine aerosol in the nebulizer. The spray chamber is where the bigger droplets in the aerosol are eliminated. Into the plasma flame goes the rest of the aerosol.