Pye Unicam

Atomic Absorption Spectrometry

The complete story of the development and marketing of Atomic Absorption Spectrometry at Pye Unicam to download.

PYE UNICAM AAS - 040315.pdf

Adobe Acrobat Document 2.4 MB

PYE UNICAM AAS - 040315.pdf

With thanks and acknowledgements to Mike Wassall (Pye Unicam).

An old film describing Atomic Absorption Spectrometry, the SP90 product and its application. Approximately 1965.

Landmark Atomic Absorption Spectrometers

To view many examples of AAS product brochures and advertising, please select this link

1962 - SP900

The Pye Unicam SP(Special Projects)900 was the company's first attempt at designing and manufacturing a flame emission spectrophotometer.

By converting this instrument to the SP900A, and using a hollow cathode lamp as light source, an atomic absorption spectrophotometer was born, improving detection capability and selectivity.

The Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS) technique was invented by Sir Alan Walsh in the late 1950s. It was to grow into Pye Unicam's largest revenue stream.

1964 - SP90

Launched in 1964, the SP90 was the first dedicated AAS instrument from Pye Unicam.

Designed by a team led by Len Morris, it now had a triple lamp turret and gas control including the later addition of nitrous oxide based flames for higher temperatures.

An automatic sample changer, and full absorbance readout completed the package. Contained in a purpose designed, state of the art casework, it proved a highly successful product.

1972 - SP1900

The first truly double beam AA spectrophotometer with a diffraction grating monochromator and six lamp turret.

Designed by a team led by Ron Newstead the instrument supplied full gas control, a newly designed spray chamber and burner system, and digital display.

Accessories would include a results printer, large autosampler and, later, even a deuterium background correction system, designed by Charles Perkins.

1979 - SP9

Arguably the largest project yet undertaken by Pye Unicam, the SP9 System was launched to much fanfare in 1979.

The design team, led by Ron Newstead, started with a complete clean sheet of paper and the resultant optical design would continue through many future generations.

The multiple systems provided everything - microprocessor data centres, graphite furnaces, autosamplers and too many configurations to count!

It was the first AA to be marketed under the Philips/Pye Unicam brand.

1982 - PU9000

Certainly one of the most innovative products ever produced by Pye Unicam it was launched in 1982. The PU9000 took complete advantage of the new microprocessor era to provide automation of the highest capability.

The autosampler tray was “posted” inside the instrument, the element information called up automatically, the flame automatically optimised, the results all calculated and graphically displayed on a new data station.

A sensational product with a development team led by Trevor Stockdale and Pete Morley.

1992 - SOLAAR 939

In the early 1990s a new product branding for Unicam AAS was developed. The SOLAAR brand continues to this day and was originally launched with a whole new series of products including the 919, 929, 939, 959, 939QZ.

Huge innovation led to Zeeman furnace modules and full Microsoft Windows based software.

In-atomiser video display, complete “black-box” automation and sample preparation with analysis validation completed the package. The first plastic moulded covers greatly improved the product appeal.

1999 - M Series

The M Series was a breakthrough in AAS design, incorporating both flame and furnace atomiser, either of which could be selected by redefining the optical system function. This brought total automation to even the level of sensitivity of measurement.

With choice of background correction techniques, local or Windows software, a host of new accessories and our first injection moulded casework - a revolution.

The project was led by Mike Wassall. Design was mainly Charles Perkins, Andy Stepien and many others.

2001 - S Series

It was considered a logical step from the M Series – to cut the instrument in half to produce the smallest footprint AAS in the world.

In fact the whole instrument and optical system had to be re-designed in the end!

It was, and still is, the smallest, fully functional AAS in the world.

The instrument brochure folded out to provide a Periodic Table wallchart that included the full-scale footprint of the instrument in order to amaze.