Location: Bowdoin / Chemistry / Instrumentation / ICP & ICP-OES


Inductively Coupled Plasma, Optical Emission Spectrophotometer

Varian MPX Vista ICP performs ICP-OES analyses

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What is it?

An ICP-OES uses a high energy argon plasma to convert elements in a solution into an gaseous, excited state form that emits electromagnetic radiation at characteristic wavelengths.  The colors of the emitted light and the light intensity can be used to identify the element and determine how much of the element is present in a sample.  The ICP-OES uses an array detector so that many elements in a sample can be determined simultaneously.

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ICP-OES instruments are used for environmental applications that include the determination of trace level heavy metal contaminants in water samples.  Animal tissues or sediment samples can be analyzed following dissolution.  The instrument can also be used to analyze minerals, soils, and plant tissues and is extensively used in the fields of chemistry, environmental science, geology, ecology, and in the food industry.

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Bowdoin Users:

The ICP-OES is used heavily in research, mainly in the environmental sciences. Students taking the Environmental Chemistry and Chemical Analysis courses offered at Bowdoin will be introduced to the operation of this instrument

Example Project Using This Instrument:

Chemical Analyses of Activity Residues in a Maya Marketplace; Chemistry Honors Project 2006 Chemical Analyses of Activity Residues in a Maya Marketplace
Amber Davis, Honors 2006
Chemical Analyses of Activity Residues in a Maya Marketplace.”
Advisor: Dharni Vasudevan