Instrumental Methods of Analysis

Instrumental methods of analysis are essential to meet the demands of the modern chemical industry. Some examples of these methods include:

  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Gas chromatography
  • Flame photometry

Instrumental methods of analysis allow us to identify and measure chemical substances.

Advantages of Instrumental Methods of Analysis

Here are some of the advantages of using instrumental methods of analysis over simple laboratory tests:

  • Faster Analysis – Instrumental methods yield results more quickly than traditional laboratory tests. This is because these methods use automated instruments that can process multiple samples at the same time.
  • Greater Accuracy – Due to their precision and sensitivity, instrumental methods offer higher accuracy. These methods can detect small amounts of chemical substances, which means they can provide more precise results than traditional laboratory tests.
  • Ease of Use – Compared to traditional laboratory tests, these methods are generally easier to use. They use automated instruments that can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks, reducing the risk of human error.
  • Sensitivity – Compared to traditional laboratory tests, instrumental methods are more sensitive. They can detect even small amounts of a sample, which is useful when working with expensive or scarce materials.

Interpreting Results

Instrumental methods also simplify the interpretation of results. For example, let’s consider the identification of metal ions using flame emission spectroscopy.

When metal ions in a sample are heated to high temperatures, they release energy in the form of light, producing an emission spectrum. The spectrum looks like a coloured barcode and is unique to each metal ion.

A metal ion emission spectrum, spanning from 400nm to 700nm, displaying coloured lines at specific wavelengths.

We can compare our sample spectrum with a reference spectrum, which is a known emission spectrum of an ion. If the emission spectrum of our sample matches a known spectrum, then they must represent the same metal ion.

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