Monday, 2 May 2011

Atomic Absorption Spectrometer

Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS) is used to accurately determine the concentration of a metallic element in solution.  The procedure depends upon the fact that atoms absorb light strongly at discrete, characteristic, wavelengths which coincide with the emission lines of the particular element. The extent of the light absorbance is a direct measure of the concentration of the absorbing atoms in the sample.

The SMAF chemistry students were privileged to be able to use the AAS as they are not found in high schools. Every student was given the opportunity to use the AAS thanks to Academy Chemistry teacher Colin Grace. 

Today the students used the AAS to determine the unknown copper concentration in a water sample. 

To find the concentration of copper in an unknown solution the students first needed to draw a standard curve using solutions of known copper concentrations. The students measured the absorbance of these solutions and plotted a calibration curve for the standards solutions showing absorbance vs concentration (ppm). The students used their graph to determine the concentration of copper in the unknown solution.

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