Abstract

The consequences of using N<sub>2</sub> as a nebulizer gas during operation of a direct current plasma were evaluated with respect to its utility as a practical analytical procedure. Performance of the N<sub>2</sub> system vs. that of an all-Ar plasma was compared on the basis of background plasma emission, atomization efficiency, detection limits, sensitivity, plasma electron density, and immunity from the easily ionized matrix element interference effect. Observations with regard to the mechanism of the EIE effect were also made. It was concluded in many cases that the use of N<sub>2</sub> as a nebulizer gas does not significantly degrade analytical performance. An exception to this conclusion was the finding that refractory samples did not atomize as efficiently in the N<sub>2</sub> plasma system.

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