SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1958

Use of Organic Solvents in Flame Photometry


In recent years it has been demonstrated that the sensitivity of the flame photometric method is significantly enhanced when elements are aspirated into the flame from an organic solution instead of an aqueous one (3,6–8,10–16, 18–20,23,25–32,34–37). Actually, early workers regarded the presence of an organic solvent as an interference in flame photometry (2). Smit, Alkemade, and Verschure (36) first suggested that organic solvents such as acetone, butanol, and propanol, when added to the aqueous solution, might be beneficial in the determination of small amounts of sodium and potassium in blood serum. Increases in emission intensity ranging from three- to fifteenfold are usual. Even greater emission intensity can be achieved in some instances by extracting the test element into an organic solvent and aspirating directly into the flame. With either approach, the increased emission intensity allows greater resolution and enables less concentrated samples to be analyzed by flame photometry without any loss in precision. By lowering the concentration levels of matrix elements, or by selective extraction from these matrix elements, spectral and radiation interferences may often be circumvented. Each of these procedures will be considered in detail; and, lastly, the process whereby an element is caused to emit its characteristic radiation will be reviewed briefly.

Author Information

Dean, JA
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
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Developed by Committee: E03
Pages: 43–54
DOI: 10.1520/STP39525S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5620-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-5619-7