Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy ICP (ICP-OES), also referred to as Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES), is a multi-element analysis technique. The technique employs argon plasma maintained by the interaction of an RF field and ionized argon gas. The plasma reach temperatures as high as 9,725 C, allowing for the complete atomization of the elements in a sample into constituent atoms or ions , exciting them to a level where they emit light of a characteristic wavelength. This high temperature also aides in minimizing potential chemical interferences. The measured emission intensities are then compared to the intensities of standards of known concentration to obtain the elemental concentrations in the unknown sample. There are two ways of viewing the light emitted from an ICP. In the classical ICP-OES configuration, the light across the plasma is viewed radially, resulting in the highest upper linear ranges. By viewing the light emitted by the sample looking axially or down the center of the plasma, the continuum background from the ICP itself is reduced and the sample path is maximized. Axial viewing provides better detection limits than those obtained by radial viewing by as much as a factor of 10. The most effective systems allow the plasma to be viewed in either orientation in a single analysis, providing the best detection capabilities and widest working ranges. Detection limits are significantly better than flame atomic absorption, and less interferences than graphite furnace atomic absorption. Typical detection limits are 1 to 10 ppb.

Besides having less interferences then either flame or graphite furnace atomic absorption, the technique provides for the ability to analyze multiple elements in s single sample verse single element analysis by either atomic absorption techniques. Our Simultaneous ICP instrument can screen for up to 60 elements in a single sample run, with no compromise of precision or detection limits. The technique's productivity, accuracy and precision, even at very low levels, make ICP-OES the choice for quality, regulatory and research applications.

Elements Commonly Analyzed

    Active Ingredients
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Zirconium
  • Heavy Metals
  • Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury (commonly referred to as the Big 4)
  • Antimony, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium
  • Copper, Gold, Molybdenum, Nickel
  • Platinum, Silver, Tin, Vanadium


  • Thermo Scientific 6300Duo ICAP configure with both pneumatic and CETAC Ultrasonic nebulizers

Call (866) 840-6948 for more information on our Consulting and Testing Services