Theoretical equations and experimental evaluation procedures for the determination of the precision of flame atomic absorption, emission, and fluorescence measurements are presented. These procedures and noise power spectra are used to evaluate the precision and noise characteristics of atomic copper measurements with all three techniques under the same experimental conditions in an H<sub>2</sub>-air flame. At the detection limit, emission and fluorescence measurements are limited by background emission shot and flicker noise whereas absorption measurements are limited by flame transmission lamp flicker noise. Analyte flicker noise limits precision at higher analyte concentrations for all three techniques. Fluctuations in self-absorption and the inner filter effect are shown to contribute to the noise in atomic emission and fluorescence measurements.
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