Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ICP-OES

video

If you have been reading this blog since the summer/fall you already know that I collected a lot of water samples.  Well today was the day I moved away from analyzing otolith data and started analysis of water samples.  I am analyzing the water samples, which were collected from five rivers around the Albemarle Sound, for elemental composition, which I will then compare to elemental concentrations in otoliths. 

I am analyzing the samples using inductively coupled optical emission spectrometry.  The video above shows the machine in action with a few of my samples being analyzed, it's a pretty cool machine but kind of complicated to start up.  Today (and yesterday) were filled with a lot of trouble shooting, familiarizing ourselves with procedures, mixing, checking, and then re-mixing standards (I spent a lot of time trying to figure out standards). 

The process has been frustrating but I'm starting to feel more confident with the analysis and it feels good to have data from a few samples.  Currently, I don't know enough about the inner workings of the ICP-OES to give a solid description, but when I do I will certainly write about it here.

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