Various types of spectral interferences in atomic absorption spectroscopy were investigated. Of particular concern were interferences in which atomic electronic processes are a problem. Source emission of multiplets and other radiation near the analysis line can cause nonlinear analytical curves and poor detection limits. Direct absorption spectral overlaps were found to be of importance in some analyses, particularly for transition elements. Comprehensive lists of observed and predicted spectral interferences are presented. It is concluded that spectral interferences may be of more importance than previously supposed in routine analytical situations. Further, there should be an optimal spectral bandpass for each analytical transition.

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