Many different spectrometer designs have been used to observe atomic emission. In this section, we describe the most common spectrometers and look at the parameters one may choose to optimize particular applications. Among the parameters of interest are:
- Number of detection channels (one, few, many)
- Dispersion and its correlate, resolution
- Dynamic range (throughput, detection limit, upper limit of linearity, saturation)
- Cost, size
We will confine the discussion to energy dispersion systems that use at least one diffraction grating. There are some examples of detection systems that use prisms, filters, or interferometers. While interesting and, in specific instances, useful, they are not common in everyday analytical systems. While filter flame photometers were commonly used to analyze the alkali metals in biological samples in decades past, this application has been largely supplanted by the use of ion-selective electrodes.
Here is the list of spectrometer topics: