ICP – inductively coupled plasma

ICP – Inductively coupled plasma – atomic emission spectrometry

An inductively coupled plasma – (ICP) is a very high temperature excitation source (7,000K) that ionizes atoms. Combined with a high resolution atomic emission spectrometer it is used to obtain quantitative, simultaneous measurements of a large range of elements. Samples are aspirated into the plasma gas (argon) where the high temperature provides sufficient energy to force the excited atoms to move to higher energy levels. When the atoms decay they emit characteristic light, which is detected simultaneously using polychromators and multiple detectors or camera chips. A wide range of elements in plant tissue can be analysed with ICP-AES.

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