ASTM E520 - 08(2015)e1

    Standard Practice for Describing Photomultiplier Detectors in Emission and Absorption Spectrometry

    Active Standard ASTM E520 | Developed by Subcommittee: E01.20

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.05

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    This practice describes the photomultiplier properties that are essential to their judicious selection and use of in emission and absorption spectrometry. The properties covered here include structural features, electrical properties, and characteristics involved in precautions and problems. The structural features covered are envelope configurations, window materials, electrical connections, and housing for the external structure, and the photocathode, dynodes and anode, and rigidness of structural components for the internal structure. Electrical properties, on the other hand, incorporate the following: optical-electronic characteristics of the photocathode including spectral response; current amplification including gain per stage, overall gain, gain control (voltage-divider bridge), linearity of response, and anode saturation; signal nature; dark current including cathode size, internal aperture, and refrigeration effects; noise nature including additivity of noise power, signal-to-noise ratio, equivalent noise input; and photomultiplier properties as a component in an electrical circuit including output impedance, response time, and signal gating and integration possibilities. Finally, the characteristics involved in precautions and problems cover fatigue and hysteresis effects, illumination of photocathode, and gas leakage.

    This abstract is a brief summary of the referenced standard. It is informational only and not an official part of the standard; the full text of the standard itself must be referred to for its use and application. ASTM does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents of this abstract are accurate, complete or up to date.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers photomultiplier properties that are essential to their judicious selection and use in emission and absorption spectrometry. Descriptions of these properties can be found in the following sections:



    Structural Features




     External Structure


     Internal Structure


    Electrical Properties




     Optical-Electronic Characteristics of the Photocathode


     Current Amplification


     Signal Nature


     Dark Current


     Noise Nature


     Photomultiplier as a Component in an Electrical Circuit


    Precautions and Problems




     Fatigue and Hysteresis Effects


     Illumination of Photocathode


     Gas Leakage


    Recommendations on Important Selection Criteria


    1.2 Radiation in the frequency range common to analytical emission and absorption spectrometry is detected by photomultipliers presently to the exclusion of most other transducers. Detection limits, analytical sensitivity, and accuracy depend on the characteristics of these current-amplifying detectors as well as other factors in the system.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E135 Terminology Relating to Analytical Chemistry for Metals, Ores, and Related Materials

    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.180.30 (Optical measuring instruments)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code

    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/E0520-08R15E01

    Citation Format

    ASTM E520-08(2015)e1, Standard Practice for Describing Photomultiplier Detectors in Emission and Absorption Spectrometry, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015,

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