Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) is an analytical technique for elemental determinations in the concentration range of major to trace based on the principles of atomic spectroscopy. This article provides a description of the basic atomic theory, and explains the analytical procedures and various interference effects of ICP, namely, spectral, vaporization-atomization, and ionization. It provides a detailed discussion on the principal components of an analytical ICP system, namely, the sample introduction system; ICP torch and argon gas supplies; radio-frequency generator and associated electronics; spectrometers, such as polychromators and monochromators; detection electronics and interface; and the system computer with appropriate hardware and software. The article also describes the uses of direct-current plasma, and provides examples of the applications of ICP-AES.
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