Low temperature ashing is an effective means of preparing samples for a wide variety of analytical methods. For example, it is recommended by the EPA for preparing asbestos samples for analysis by microscopy. Oxygen plasma gently oxidizes organic material at low temperatures leaving inorganics such as asbestos structurally intact. Samples such as plant or animal tissue can be ashed leaving inorganics such as asbestos structurally intact. Samples such as plant or animal tissue can be ashed leaving the three dimensional structure intact for analysis microscopy. Since the process takes place at a low temperature, cations of Na, K, Mg and Ca are retained. Ashing rates are about 1 gram per hour, so having autotuning and a system like the AutoGlow for unattended operation is desirable. The AutoGlow plasma system has a quartz chamber and has an extremely effective tuning network allowing processing as low as 10 watts, or up to 300 watts for more aggressive processing.