Inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) determines trace elements, including metals, in solution. The method is applicable to all of the elements listed in Table 1. All matrices, excluding filtered groundwater samples but including ground water aqueous samples, TCLP and EP extracts, industrial and organic wastes, soils, sludges, sediments, and other solid wastes, require digestion prior to analysis. Groundwater samples that have been prefiltered and acidified will not need acid digestion. Samples which are not digested must either use an internal standard or be matrix matched with the standards. Refer to Chapter Three for the appropriate digestion procedures.


This method describes multielemental determinations by ICP-AES using sequential or simultaneous optical systems and axial or radial viewing of the plasma. The instrument measures characteristic emission spectra by optical spectrometry. Samples are nebulized and the resulting aerosol is transported to the plasma torch. Element-specific emission spectra are produced by a radio-frequency inductively coupled plasma. The spectra are dispersed by a grating spectrometer, and the intensities of the emission lines are monitored by photosensitive devices. 

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