Facultade de Fisioterapia

Photoassisted vapor generation in the presence of organic acids for ultrasensitive determination of Se by electrothermal-atomic absorption spectrometry following headspace single-drop microextraction

Authors: R. Figueroa, Isela Lavilla, Carlos Bendicho

Journal: Spectrochimica Acta Part B, 60: 1556-1563, 12/2005

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sab.2005.10.009


A method is described for the determination of selenium at the pg/mL level by electrothermal-atomic absorption spectrometry using in situ photogeneration of Se vapors, headspace sequestration onto an aqueous microdrop containing Pd(II) and subsequent injection in a graphite tube. Several organic acids (formic, oxalic, acetic, citric and ethylenediaminetetraacetic) have been tried for photoreduction of Se(IV) into volatile Se compounds under UV irradiation. Experimental variables such as UV irradiation time, organic acid concentration, Pd(II) concentration in the drop, sample and drop volumes, extraction time and pH were fully optimized. Low-molecular weight acids such as formic and acetic provided optimal photogeneration of volatile Se species at a 0.6 mol/L concentration. Citric and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid allowed to use a concentration as low as 1 mmol/L, but extraction times were longer than for formic and acetic acids. Photogeneration of (CH3)2Se from Se(IV) in the presence of acetic acid provided a detection limit of 20 pg/mL, a preconcentration factor of nearly 285 and a precision, expressed as relative standard deviation, of 4%. Analytical performance seemed to depend not only on the photogeneration efficiency obtained with each acid but also on the stability of the vapors in the headspace. The method showed a high freedom from interferences caused by saline matrices, but interferences were observed for transition metals at a relatively low concentration.