History And Applications Of Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy

Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) is an analysis technique used for elemental analysis. It measures the absorbing power of a sample when the light of different wavelengths is passed through it.

This technique was developed to make analytical measurements easier, faster, and with better results. Today, the multiple uses for AAS have resulted in worldwide acceptance and increased popularity.

Agilent atomic absorption spectroscopy can provide what you need if you value a discovery that can advance environmental goals. Read to learn more about its history and applications.

Origin of AAS

In 1672, Isaac Newton discovered that sunlight could be divided into colors after passing through a prism. He explained how the light looked when it was scattered, and the idea of spectroscopy came up.

Aside from the colors, blacklines in the spectrum were observed by William Hyde Wollaston in 1802. In 1820, David Brewster said that the sun’s atmosphere absorbed light.

Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff both studied the sodium spectrum. They discovered that each element has a distinct spectrum that may be utilized to recognize the vapor phase.

Alan Walsh significantly enhanced the AAS techniques in 1953. He found applications for AAS that led manufacturers to release the first AAS spectrometers on the market.

As a field, atomic absorption spectroscopy has a history of ground-breaking development. This technique has changed how we see the world from its early versions to modern systems.

Applications of AAS

Atomic absorption spectroscopy is a method frequently used to identify individual elements in compounds. Look at some of the ways this method has been used:

1. Metallurgy

The use of atomic absorption spectroscopy is a crucial instrument for the examination of metals. A procedure used to extract metals in their pure state is referred to as metallurgy. Non-destructive analytical methods like atomic absorption spectroscopy can be used to determine the purity of a metal. Samples are examined using atomic absorption spectrometers to ascertain the amount of metal present.

2. Environmental Studies

A valuable technique for those conducting environmental investigations is atomic absorption spectroscopy. It can track radioactive fallout, count the number of trace elements in water samples, and assess the number of helpful elements like selenium, zinc, and manganese. Additionally, it can be used to find dangerous substances like lead or mercury.

3. Chemistry Research

Chemists can use it to identify the presence of various elements in samples, making it a helpful tool. This process of determining whether or not an unknown substance is known as qualitative analysis. The concentration of an element in a sample can also be determined using AAS. Because it provides an exact number for how much of each element is present in their sample, chemists find this technique useful.

4. Food and Agriculture

Food manufacturers use atomic absorption spectroscopy for a variety of purposes. One important application is testing for harmful metals, such as lead or arsenic. Other applications include examining food products for nutrients. AAS is also useful in studying plant fertilization and micronutrients in soils because it can detect certain elements in very small quantities.


This article provided information on the evolution of atomic absorption spectroscopy applications. The concentration of elements in a sample can be determined using atomic absorption spectroscopy by absorbing light at particular wavelengths. The method has significantly impacted the growth of numerous different sectors and has been widely applied in those fields.