As a chemist, I’ve constantly stressed the importance of proper sample preparation. Whether I’m diluting, digesting, preconcentrating, extracting, or performing a combination of these, sample preparation is the key to making my analysis a success, yet it’s often the most challenging part of my workflow. Some of my preparation procedures are simply daunting – a series of challenging, time-consuming steps with multiple opportunities for error or cross-contamination. On top of that is the multitude of parameters that must be selected. Questions such as “what should the pH be?”, “which solvents should I use?” and “what should my sample volume be?” are a few of the many, many parameters that must be optimized. When you look at all the opportunities for something to go wrong, sample preparation can seem very overwhelming. While powerful, sample preparation becomes a lot less complicated when you understand the science behind what you’re trying to accomplish with this step.
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