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Microanalysis is the chemical identification and quantitative analysis of very small amounts of chemical substances (generally less than 10 mg or 1 ml) or very small surfaces of material (generally less than 1 cm2). One of the pioneers in the microanalysis of chemical elements was the Austrian Nobel Prize winner Fritz Pregl.
The most known methods used in microanalysis are:
- Most of the spectroscopy methods: ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray fluorescence also mass spectrometry
- Most of the chromatography methods : high-performance liquid chromatography, Gel permeation chromatography;
- Some thermal analysis methods: differential scanning calorimetry, Thermogravimetric analysis;
- Field flow fractionation;
- X-ray diffraction.
Compared to normal analyses methods, microanalysis:
- Requires less time for preparation
- Requires less sample and solvent and thus produces less waste and is more cost effective.
- Handling of small quantities is not always simple.
- Higher accuracy of weighing is necessary (e.g. use of accurate balance).
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