The simultaneous determination of a number of elements by atomic absorption is based upon the combination of desired characteristic radiations from hollow cathode tubes into a single, collimated polychromatic beam that is passed through the absorbing medium, is then resolved into its components, and each component is brought onto a detector. The radiations are combined by locating each source behind a slit that is so positioned with respect to a diffraction or dispersion element to satisfy the diffraction or dispersion equations under conditions which bring each beam along a common path to a single exit slit. The combined beam is resolved into its components by conventional spectrometric principles. Methods by which the optics may be folded to accommodate all elements within a single enclosure are described. The sensitivity and precision of analysis obtained by this method were found to be equivalent to the results of conventional single element determinations.
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