Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

David C. Hilderbrand


The presence of interference effects in atomic absorption spectroscopy affects the degree of accuracy that can be obtained. A major source of interference in electrothermal atomization processes appears to involve the formation of molecular species. In the analysis of lead in the presence of chloride, three peaks are observed. The first of these peaks has an absorption spectrum characteristic of lead chloride. The second and third peaks cannot be identified on the basis of their respective spectra. In the presence of nitrate, the analysis of lead results in the presence of a broad band absorption profile that cannot be identified. The degree of molecular interference is dependent upon temperature, matrix concentration, graphite tube surface condition, the solution pH, and the wavelength used. An understanding of the factors which are actually causing the interferences to occur should lead to procedures for reducing or eliminating their effects. The most widely studied element in this respect is lead. However, the mechanisms involved in signal suppression or enhancement observed with varying matrices have not been elucidated. It is the purpose of this paper to further study interference effects on the analysis of various matrices for lead; in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the chemical and physical phenomena involved in atomization from the surface of a heated graphite furnace.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Atomic absorption spectroscopy
Lead -- Analysis
Electrostatic atomization



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University