A modified method is described for a 1-mg sample multi-element semiquantitative spectrographic analysis. This method uses a direct-current arc source, carbon instead of graphite electrodes, and an 80% argon-20% oxygen atmosphere instead of air. Although this is a destructive method, an analysis can be made for 68 elements in all mineral and geochemical samples. Carbon electrodes have been an aid in improving the detection limits of many elements. The carbon has a greater resistance to heat conductance and develops a better tip, facilitating sample volatilization and counter balancing the cooling effect of a flow of the argon-oxygen mixture around the anode. Where such an argon-oxygen atmosphere is used instead of air, the cyanogen band lines are greatly diminished in intensity, and thus more spectral lines of analysis elements are available for use; the spectral background is also lower. The main advantage of using the carbon electrode and the 80% argon-20% oxygen atmosphere is the improved detection limits of 36 out of 68 elements. The detection limits remain the same for 23 elements, and are not as good for only nine elements. ?? 1981.
Additional publication details
Multiple-element semiquantitative analysis of one-milligram geochemical samples by D.C. arc emission spectrography