In liquid-electrode plasma systems, a liquid sample is inserted in a microchannel at the ends of which a high voltage is applied, generating a microplasma that acts as the excitation source for emission spectrometry.

Liquid-electrode plasma-optical emission spectrometry is an analytical method that has the advantage of not requiring a nebulizer (unlike most other methods). Moreover, it can operate on batteries and is compact and portable. However, the sensitivity is not high enough to detect metals in very low-concentration samples. To analyze this type of sample, liquid-electrode plasma-optical emission spectrometry can be combined with solid-phase extraction, a method that is used to increase analyte concentration before the analysis. In solid-phase extraction, the analyte is first retained on a supramolecular sorbent that uses host-guest chemistry, then extracted in a more concentrated form.
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