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Flame Photometer

Flame photometer used in laboratory

What is flame photometer?

Flame photometer is an analytical instrument that uses emission spectrometry as its basic principle. It uses a flame as the excitation light source and applies a photoelectric detection system to measure the intensity of radiation emitted by the excited element when it returns to the ground state from the excited state. According to its characteristic spectrum and light wave intensity to determine the element category and its content. It includes the gas and flame combustion part, optical part, photoelectric converter, and detection and recording part. The temperature of the flame is relatively low, so only a few elements can be excited, and the resulting spectrum is relatively simple and less interfering. Flame photometric method is especially suitable for the determination of alkali metal and alkaline earth metal elements which are easier to excite.

Working principle of flame photometer

Flame photometry uses the thermal energy provided by the flame itself to excite some of the atoms in the alkaline earth metals, causing these atoms to absorb energy and then leap to the next energy level. This energy that is released has a specific spectral signature, which means a certain wavelength range. For example, when table salt is placed in a flame, the flame becomes yellow because the spectrum of the energy released when the sodium atoms fall back to the normal energy level in the flame is yellow. It is often called a flame reaction.

The color of different alkali metals in the flame is different. With different filters, a qualitative test can be performed. The intensity of the flame, in turn, is directly proportional to the concentration of atoms contained in the solution, which forms the basis for quantitative determination. This method is called flame photometry, and this type of instrument is called a flame photometer.

Since the flame temperature is not very high, the energy released by the atoms to be measured is limited. Also, during the combustion process, self-absorption and self-turbidity exist, so the test is linear only in the low concentration range.

The flame photometer is a relative measurement instrument, and the concentration value of the sample under test is the relative value of the concentration of the standard sample under the same test conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare a set of corresponding standard samples before testing, then perform calibration operation and plot the curve manually or through the instrument, and finally test the sample under test to get its concentration value or other required data.

Function of flame photometer

Flame photometer is widely used in a clinical laboratory and pathological research of medical and health care. It is also suitable for the determination of potassium, sodium, lithium, and calcium in the agricultural, industrial, and food industries, and has the function of detecting lithium salts taken by psychiatric patients.

a. Built-in air compressor design. Each flame photometer is adjusted to the best ratio of gas/air by the manufacturer before leaving the factory to avoid the error caused by the artificial adjustment of the external air compressor.

b. Built-in calibration correction function, which can effectively avoid various random errors in the process of instrument calibration and effectively improve the reproducibility of detection data.

c. Ultra-large range, its range is 5 times that of other flame photometers. It can basically achieve the analysis of the original sample, to avoid the error caused by sample dilution and concentration.

d. Continuous reading, using more than 20 consecutive readings per second, and automatically remove invalid readings, display the average value of readings, so that the test results more accurate.

e. Standard data management software, which can automatically record and print test data with continuous reading curves, making the test result record more comprehensive, and the software conforms to GLP specifications.

f. IQ/OQ validation is available to meet high-end laboratory management requirements.

Types of flame photometer

Flame photometer instrument

A. Simple flame photometer

The simple flame photometer is usually a single-channel type. When measuring multiple ions, the filter needs to be replaced, and long-term replacement will bring wear and tear to the filter, causing unnecessary deviations in the measured value. The instrument requires a separate external air compressor. The ratio of compressed air to combustion gas is adjusted by the user or installer based on experience. Because it is difficult to reach the best ratio point and the external gas pipeline condensation phenomenon, so it will bring to flame stability.

In addition, the user needs to configure the standard solution, read out the data according to the linear proportionality between the concentration and the luminosity value, plot the standard curve or calculate the regression equation, and then convert the concentration value. This process is very tedious, so the instrument is generally only suitable for non-precision measurements of individual elements.

B. Ordinary flame photometer

Ordinary flame photometer is usually two-channel or three-channel. It can measure two or three elemental indicators at the same time. When measuring more parameters, it is still necessary to change the filter. Changing filters also causes wear and tear and deviations in readings. Instrument measurements also need to regularly draw a standard curve, which will bring a lot of trouble to the work. Ordinary flame photometers also need to be equipped with an external air compressor, increasing the cost, and cannot avoid the compressed air and combustion gas ratio cannot reach the best state and external gas pipeline condensation and flame stability brought about by the impact.

C. All-purpose flame photometer

The most important feature of the all-purpose flame photometer is the five-channel digital type, which can simultaneously detect and display five elements (K, Na, Li, Ca, Ba). The unit has a built-in silent air compressor and comes standard with a full set of accessories required for operation. It can support single-point, multi-point and multi-ion calibration without the need to draw standard curves and automatic readings.

Application of flame photometer

Working of flame photometer

A. Sodium detection

a. Detection of sodium content in raw pine oil.

b. Detection of exchangeable sodium content in soils.

c. Detection of sodium content in fuel oil (crude oil, gasoline, diesel).

d. Detection of sodium content in glass samples.

e. Detection of sodium content in straw and grass.

B. Sodium and potassium detection

a. Detection of sodium and potassium in silicates, inorganic minerals, and metallic minerals.

b. Detection of sodium and potassium content of the juice.

C. Potassium detection

a. Detection of potassium content in fertilizers.

b. Detection of potassium content in plant samples.

c. Detection of the potassium content available in the soil.

d. Detection of potassium content in resin mixtures.

e. Detection of potassium content in glass samples.

D. Lithium detection

a. Detection of lithium content in lubricating oil and grease.

E. Calcium testing

a. Detection of calcium content in beer.

b. Detection of calcium content in biological fluids.

c. Assessment of the calcium content in milk.

d. The simplest flame photometric measurement of calcium content.

e. Detection of calcium content in fruit juices.

f. Test the calcium content of cookies and hard bread.

F. Detection of barium

a. The simplest flame photometric measurement of barium content.

G. Detection of alkali base metals

a. Detection of alkali metal content in cement.

H. Sulfate detection

a. Simplest flame photometry of sulfate.

Use of flame photometer


Flame photometer uses

A. Turn on the machine

a. Press the power switch and start the air compressor. The pressure gauge will gradually rise about 0.15 MPa.

b. Place the waste liquid cylinder at the back of the instrument at the outlet tube.

c. Turn on the sample inlet switch and insert the pipette into the solution. The solution enters the atomization chamber with the pipette, and soon there is solution flowing out in the waste cylinder, which means the instrument feed atomization is normal.

d. Turn the gas valve counterclockwise. When the ignition is not on, remove the top cover of the chimney and you can smell gasoline.

e. When igniting, press the ignition button while gradually opening the gas valve. If it is difficult to ignite, pull out the glass cover a little and restart the ignition operation.

f. The inlet switch is placed at "open", and the gas valve is adjusted so that the flame of each combustion hole in a circular arrangement forms a light blue, conical shape with a slightly curved point at the bottom.

g. Cover the chimney cap and watch the flame from the observation window to see if the flame is stable. Adjust the gas valve appropriately so that the flame is stable. When igniting, ignite directly without removing the cover.

B. Preheat the machine

The combustion of the flame and the injection of the sample is a dynamic-processes. Initially, the flame is at room temperature, and then it is a warming process. When the gas and sample injection volume are determined, the flame tends to thermal equilibrium. At this time, the flame is more stable, the excitation energy is constant, and thus the reading is stable.

The preheating time is about 30 min. It is better to use distilled water for continuous injection, as this better simulates the actual injection conditions.

If the user has few samples and no time, the calibration can be measured at the same time to save fuel and time.

C. Turn off the machine

a. Turn off the machine by simply cutting off the power. But if you use LPG, do not forget to close the switch valve on the gas tank (turn clockwise tightly). Before shutting down the instrument, please boil it with distilled water for about 5 min.

b. The inlet switch and gas valve of the instrument do not need to be rotated, keep the original state to avoid adjustment of the flame condition. If the next use of the ignition difficulties, you can slightly increase the amount of gas. After ignition, a slight adjustment can be made.

How to buy flame photometer?

ANTITECK provide lab equipment, lab consumable, manufacturing equipment in life sciences sector.
If you are interested in our flame photometer or have any questions, please write an e-mail to, we will reply to you as soon as possible.

    AntiTeck Life Sciences

    A1-519, XingGang GuoJi, Yingbin Road, Huadu, Guangzhou, China, 510810
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