The spatial dependence of spectral and matrix interference effects known to affect ICP emission spectrometry has been studied. The emissions of atoms, ions, and molecules were resolved on both a vertical and radial basis. Interference and sample volatility effects were found to be limited to specific spatial regions. Molecular background emission was dominated by the entrainment of air and was limited primarily to the outer radial regions of the plasma. In contrast, the radial displacement of analyte molecular emission from more slowly atomized samples varied with height. In the case of the easily ionized element interference on Ca atomic/ionic emission, evidence was found indicating at least two different mechanisms of interaction. The ability to attain radial resolution was instrumental in assigning causes to interference effects.

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