What is ICP-OES?

Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectrometry is a mouthful. So, we just say ICP-OES or ICP test for short.

Here’s how it works:

  • Water is sprayed as an aerosol into plasma, which can be as hot as 10,000 degrees.
  • The electrons of the elements get excited from the heat.
  • When they begin to drop back to the ground, heat energy produces light.
  • Each element has its own particular spectrum that is emitted. This spectrum is measured with a spectrometer which determines what is in the solution.

ICP-OES testing is not easy and requires a great knowledge of the spectrometer machine and how to operate it. ATI’s PhD chemist has this knowledge and has spent countless hours perfecting the necessary skills required to perform these tests accurately.

ATI ICP-OES Machine
Pictured above: ATI Labs ICP-OES machine

How do I know it’s accurate?

ATI’s spectrometer machines are used exclusively for seawater and are specifically calibrated for this purpose.* In order to validate the accuracy of the results, ATI uses a known sample for every third test. If the results of the machine are not accurate with that known sample, the spectrometer is recalibrated to ensure proper readings and the previous samples are re-tested.

We hope you found this information useful. If you have more questions about ICP-OES and why we believe ATI offers the most accurate results, please feel free to contact us.

Click here to learn more about ATI Labs and our industry-leading ICP testing.

*Don’t send in a N.I.S.T. certified sample of seawater to test for accuracy. Certified samples of seawater have acids added to ensure they remain stable while on the shelf. This acid drastically changes the results of many of the elements that are critical to reef keeping.