A phase-sensitive detection technique associated with a digital lock-in amplifier was applied for an improvement of the detection in ICP-AES. The lock-in amplifier works as an extremely narrow band pass filter. It can pick up the modulated signal, which has the same frequency as the reference signal, from any noise and thus it can improve the signal-to-noise ratio. Modulation of the ICP can be performed by mixing small amounts of air to argon as the outer gas cyclically, because the emission intensities of ionic lines are enhanced by using the mixed gas. An electromagnetic valve, which is placed in the outer-gas flow path, causes periodic variation in the air gas in the outer-gas flow, and thus switching the valve on/off can modulate the ICP. By choosing the appropriate conditions, the addition of air gas enhances the emission intensity of ionic lines more than that of the background, thus leading to improved signal-to-background ratios. At the same time the lock-in amplifier further enhances the ionic emissions because it picks up only the modulated part of the signal. By applying the plasma gas flow modulation technique the detection and the determination limits of the Mn II 257.610 nm line are improved in comparison with the conventional method. A change in plasma shape corresponding to the modulation frequency is observed when the ICP is modulated.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - 2001 Mar 20|
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