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    Fifield F.W. Kealey D. (2000) Principles and Practice of Analytical Chemistry.

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    It is twenty-five years since the first edition was published, and at the beginning of the twenty-first century it seems appropriate to reflect on the directions in which analytical chemistry is developing. The opening statements from the preface to the first edition are as relevant now as they were in 1975, viz

    Analytical chemistry is a branch of chemistry which is both broad in scope and requires a specialised and disciplined approach. Its applications extend to all parts of an industrialised society.

    During this period, the main themes have remained constant, but differences in emphasis are readily discerned. An increasing concern with the well-being of individuals and life in general has led to initiatives for improvements in medicine and the world environment, and in these areas analytical chemistry has particularly vital roles to play. The elucidation of the causes and effects of ill health or of environmental problems often depends heavily upon analytical measurements. The demand for analytical data in relation to manufactured goods is increasing. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry much effort is being concentrated on combinatorial chemistry where thousands of potential drugs are being designed, synthesised and screened. This activity generates considerable analytical requirements, particularly for automated chromatographic and spectrometric procedures, to deal with very large numbers of samples. The determination of ultra-trace levels and the speciation of analytes continues to provide challenges in the manufacture of highly pure materials and environmental monitoring.

    A recurring theme throughout the discipline is the sustained impact of computers on both instrumentation and data handling where real-time processing within a Windows environment is becoming the norm. Data reliability in the context of policy development and legal proceedings is also of increasing importance. Such developments, however, should not distract analytical chemists from the need for a sound understanding of the principles on which the techniques and methodologies are based, and these remain prominent features in the fifth edition. Whilst it would be true to say that no totally new analytical technique has gained prominence during the five years since the fourth edition, most ofthe established ones have undergone further improvements in both instrument design and methodology.

    Significant changes and additions to the text have again been made. The sections on solid phase extraction (SPE) and near infrared (NIR) spectrometry have been expanded to reflect their growing use in sample preparation and process control respectively. Capillary electrochromatography (CEC), a hybrid of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE), which is poised to become a major force in separation science once the technology has been refined and made more reliable, has been included in chapter 4. Changes in chapter 8 (Atomic Spectrometry) highlight the growing importance of the two-dimensional presentation of data, especially of Echelle optics in plasma emission spectrometry. Other new information in this chapter covers recent developments in counteracting polyatomic interferences in inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and the reawakening of interest in atomic fluorescence as a basis for the determination of mercury and elements with volatile hydrides. The coverage of some aspects of general chromatography, gas chromatography,mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry has been revised and some new material added (chapters 4 and 9). The assessment of analytical data (chapter 2) now includes an introduction to linear regression.

    Analytical chemistry in the new millennium will continue to develop greater degrees of sophistication. The use of automation, especially involving robots, for routine work will increase and the role of ever more powerful computers and software, such as intelligent expert systems, will be a dominant factor. Extreme miniaturisation of techniques (the analytical laboratory on a chip) and sensors designed for specific tasks will make a big impact. Despite such advances, the importance of, and the need for, trained analytical chemists is set to continue into the foreseeable future and it is vital that universities and colleges play a full part in the provision of relevant courses of study.



    Fifield F.W. Kealey D. (2000) Principles and Practice of Analytical Chemistry.

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