Trace amounts of gold and silver in high-purity iron or steel were preconcentrated by reductive coprecipitation with palladium using ascorbic acid, and determined by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS). Both gold and silver could be simultaneously separated and sensitively determined in 10 metals (aluminum, cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium and zinc). Comparable values were obtained for gold and silver in reference materials (low alloy steel) by the proposed method and a non-separation method; good agreement was found between the analytical values by both methods and the certified values. The proposed method is easy, simple and not dependent on sample composition and content. Moreover, gold and silver in metal samples could be simultaneously separated together with selenium and tellurium. The detection limits for gold and silver (3 σ) are 0.003 μg g-1 and 0.002 μg g-1, respectively.
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