Increased Analytical Precision in the Hollow Cathode Discharge Emission Source by Improved Discharge Current Control


A significant Improvement In the precision of the hollow cathode as an emission source Is reported. Precision of 1 % or less has been observed several times over periods of several hours. An average long-term stability of 4.3% for Li and 6.0% for Na In the emission signal from mlcrosamples (<50 nL) deposited In the hollow cathode discharge source Is reported. The Improved precision is attributed primarily to the Introduction of electronics that hold the discharge current more nearly constant and to the shielding of all wiring to the source from the power supply. A current-controlled switch that Is capable of driving a hollow cathode discharge In either dc or pulsed mode Is described. This switch Is capable of generating current pulses as short as 2 μs through a resistive load and greatly Improves the discharge stability and repeatability at turn-on In both the dc and pulsed modes. The characteristics of pulses produced by this switch are presented; however, analytical performance Is reported only for the dc mode. Temporal current plots are presented for the new instrumentation and compared to plots taken with commonly used current-controlled power supplies. Instrumentation, operation, and sample preparation procedures are described. Typical temporal profiles of the emission signal from mlcrosamples deposited in AI and stainless steel hollow cathodes are given. © 1991, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Analytical Chemistry