Atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) is generally used for measuring relatively low concentrations of approximately 70 metallic or semimetallic elements in solution samples. This article describes several features that are common to three techniques, namely, AAS, atomic emission spectrometry (AES), and atomic fluorescence spectrometry (AFS). It discusses the reasons for the extreme differences in AAS sensitivities that affect AFS and AES. The article provides information on the advantages and disadvantages of the Smith/Hieftje system and two types of background correction systems, namely, the continuum-source background correction and Zeeman background correction. It also provides a list of applications of conventional AAS equipment, which includes most of the types of samples brought to laboratories for elemental analyses.
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