Atlantic Microlab - Elemental Microanalysis

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What address do I use when sending samples and correspondence?
Q. What is the minimum sample weight requirement for elemental analyses?
Q. What is your turnaround time?
Q. How are samples dried in your laboratory?
Q. How does the presence of isotopes affect the analysis?
Q. What are your detection limits?
Q. What is your error limit?
Q. What kind of vials should I use to send my samples?
Q. How should I pack my samples for shipping?
Atlantic Microlab FAQ Page

Q. What address do I use when sending samples and correspondence?

A. Please use our street address:

6180 Atlantic Blvd.
Suite M
Norcross, GA  30071

Q. What is the minimum sample weight requirement for elemental analyses?

A. This is likely the most asked technical question we receive, and the answer varies depending on which elements are required, what the theoretical percentages are, and how transferable the sample is. The following is a useful guideline when submitting samples:

For single CHN/CHNS analyses it is best to send 5mg of sample to ensure that an analysis can be properly performed. In some cases we can perform this type of an analysis on just a few milligrams, but prior arrangements should be made with our technical staff.

Chlorine/Fluorine 0.5-5%
12mg
5-10%
8mg
10-20%
5mg
Over 20%
3mg
Bromine 0.5-8%
15mg
8-15%
10mg
15-25%
7mg
Over 25%
5mg
Iodine 0.5-8%
15mg
8-15%
12mg
15-25%
9mg
Over 25%
6mg

Q. What is your turnaround time?

A. Normal turnaround time is 1-3 days. Although it is rare to experience more than a 36 hour delay for results to be available, 72 hours may be required to analyze some samples during times of heavy volume.

Additionally, we offer a RUSH SERVICE. Rush service is provided as follows:

Analyses will be completed and results available by 5 PM eastern time on the day the sample is received.
There is a $12 per sample charge for this service.
Samples received after noon for which rush service is requested will be delayed accordingly.


Q. How are samples dried in your laboratory?

A. Samples are dried either under vacuum, or by block drying. When dried under vacuum, samples are placed into a drying pistol filled with desiccant. The best vacuum available is .015 mm Hg. Please indicate on the analysis form drying temperature, etc. when requesting a sample to be dried. We request that no samples be submitted in aqueous solution. Our drying procedures are for the removal of residual solvents or contact moisture.


Q. How does the presence of isotopes affect the analysis?

A. In most cases in our laboratory, detection is performed by thermal conductivity. Since isotopes of an atom have the same number of electrons as the atom, this process does not distinguish one isotope of an atom from the other. The illustration below, using Deuterium, will give an example of how the results will appear.

Molecular Formula: C10H10D2O

Molecular Weight: 150.212

%C = 120.1/150.212 = 79.95
%H = 10.08/150.212 = 6.71
%D = 4.032/150.212 = 2.68
%O = 16.00/150.212 = 10.65

Since our instruments detect all D atoms as if they were H, the above illustration would be detected as H12 .

H + D as H = 10.08 + 2.016 / 150.212 =8.05

Note: Adding the %’s of H and D together would erroneously yield 9.39%.


Q. What are your detection limits?

A. Since we are doing microanalyses, we are using small amounts of sample. For halogen samples, anything below 0.25% will be reported as trace. For all other elements, our detection limits are 0.3%.

Note: Atlantic Microlab does not perform trace analyses.


Q. What is your error limit?

A. + or - 0.3% for both accuracy and precision.


Q. What kind of vials should I use to send my samples?

A. Please use glass vials with either screw or push caps. The vials should be flat-bottomed, so that they stand easily. We recommend 1 dram vials with ~ 3ml capacity. We may attach a service charge to invoices for samples submitted in conical plastic vials, plastic bags, glass tubes, etc. While the exact size of the glass vial is unimportant, please do not use very large or very small vials.


Q. How should I pack my samples for shipping?

A. Please carefully wrap vial caps with a small amount of parafilm or similar tape on the cap to prevent the cap from coming loose. Next, carefully wrap the vial in bubble wrap, Kim wipes, facial tissue, or something similar. Please avoid placing a small glass vial inside of a larger one; the outer vial usually arrives broken. Check to make sure a sample doesn’t rattle before sealing your package. We strongly urge you to avoid packing samples in vermiculite, or any substance that will get inside the vial cap. We cannot be responsible for contaminated samples.


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