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Since the introduction of atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS) ten years ago, over 20 million dollars have been invested in the 3000 AAS instruments in the United States. This wide acceptance and phenomenal growth have been accompanied by sound but haphazard progress. We have learned that, despite their apparent simplicity, AAS methods require careful laboratory technique, familiarity with the separations and reactions that are fundamental in analytical chemistry, and a thorough knowledge of potential sources of error and their control. The nature of AAS provides a genuine challenge in proper instrument operation, which is unlike the challenges in the chemical methods. The real problems begin in the interlaboratory testing of a new method, and it remains to be seen how AAS will compare with chemical methods in interlaboratory testing programs. As regards to ASTM, the real benefits from AAS depend on the completion of unfinished work on the critical evaluation of all of our methods, the sound appraisal of AAS methods through interlaboratory testing programs, and agreement on recommended practices in our AAS methods.
chemical analysis, atomic absorption, detection limits, gravimetric analysis, volumetric analysis, photometric, electrochemical analysis, analyzing, tests
Lewis, L. L.
Assistant headPersonal member ASTM, General Motors Corp., Warren, Mich.