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Introduction to Analytical Chemistry


Analytical chemistry is the science of making quantitative measurements. In practice, quantifying analytes in a complex sample becomes an exercise in problem solving. To be effective and efficient, analyzing samples requires expertise in:

  1. the chemistry that can occur in a sample
  2. analysis and sample handling methods for a wide variety of problems (the tools-of-the-trade)
  3. proper data analysis and record keeping
To meet these needs, Analytical Chemistry courses usually emphasize equilibrium, spectroscopic and electrochemical analysis, separations, and statistics.

Analytical chemistry requires a broad background knowledge of chemical and physical concepts. These hypermedia documents contain links to the fundamental principles that underly the different analytical methods. As you study the analytical chemistry topics, follow the hyperlinks to the basic concepts with which you are not familiar. With a fundamental understanding of analytical methods, a scientist faced with a difficult analytical problem can apply the most appropriate technique(s). A fundamental understanding also makes it easier to identify when a particular problem cannot be solved by traditional methods, and gives an analyst the knowledge that is needed to develop creative approaches or new analytical methods.

Methods of Detecting Analytes

  1. physical means
  2. with electromagnetic radiation (Spectroscopy)
  3. by an electric charge

As you can see there are a limited number of ways to detect an analyte. However, in each of the above general categories there are a large multitude of specific analytical techniques.

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