Optimization and application of ICPMS with dynamic reaction cell for precise determination of 44Ca/40Ca isotope ratios.
ABSTRACT An inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer with dynamic reaction cell (ICP-DRC-MS) was optimized for determining (44)Ca/(40)Ca isotope ratios in aqueous solutions with respect to (i) repeatability, (ii) robustness, and (iii) stability. Ammonia as reaction gas allowed both the removal of (40)Ar+ interference on (40)Ca+ and collisional damping of ion density fluctuations of an ion beam extracted from an ICP. The effect of laboratory conditions as well as ICP-DRC-MS parameters such a nebulizer gas flow rate, rf power, lens potential, dwell time, or DRC parameters on precision and mass bias was studied. Precision (calculated using the "unbiased" or "n - 1" method) of a single isotope ratio measurement of a 60 ng g(-1) calcium solution (analysis time of 6 min) is routinely achievable in the range of 0.03-0.05%, which corresponded to the standard error of the mean value (n = 6) of 0.012-0.020%. These experimentally observed RSDs were close to theoretical precision values given by counting statistics. Accuracy of measured isotope ratios was assessed by comparative measurements of the same samples by ICP-DRC-MS and thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) by using isotope dilution with a (43)Ca-(48)Ca double spike. The analysis time in both cases was 1 h per analysis (10 blocks, each 6 min). The delta(44)Ca values measured by TIMS and ICP-DRC-MS with double-spike calibration in two samples (Ca ICP standard solution and digested NIST 1486 bone meal) coincided within the obtained precision. Although the applied isotope dilution with (43)Ca-(48)Ca double-spike compensates for time-dependent deviations of mass bias and allows achieving accurate results, this approach makes it necessary to measure an additional isotope pair, reducing the overall analysis time per isotope or increasing the total analysis time. Further development of external calibration by using a bracketing method would allow a wider use of ICP-DRC-MS for routine calcium isotopic measurements, but it still requires particular software or hardware improvements aimed at reliable control of environmental effects, which might influence signal stability in ICP-DRC-MS and serve as potential uncertainty sources in isotope ratio measurements.
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ABSTRACT: The variations in the isotopic composition of calcium caused by fractionation in heterogeneous systems and by nuclear reactions can provide insight into numerous biological, geological, and cosmic processes, and therefore isotopic analysis finds a wide spectrum of applications in cosmo- and geochemistry, paleoclimatic, nutritional, and biomedical studies. The measurement of calcium isotopic abundances in natural samples has challenged the analysts for more than three decades. Practically all Ca isotopes suffer from significant isobaric interferences, whereas low-abundant isotopes can be particularly affected by neighboring major isotopes. The extent of natural variations of stable isotopes appears to be relatively limited, and highly precise techniques are required to resolve isotopic effects. Isotope fractionation during sample preparation and measurements and instrumental mass bias can significantly exceed small isotope abundance variations in samples, which have to be investigated. Not surprisingly, a TIMS procedure developed by Russell et al. (Russell et al., 1978. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 42: 1075-1090) for Ca isotope measurements was considered as revolutionary for isotopic measurements in general, and that approach is used nowadays (with small modifications) for practically all isotopic systems and with different mass spectrometric techniques. Nevertheless, despite several decades of calcium research and corresponding development of mass spectrometers, the available precision and accuracy is still not always sufficient to achieve the challenging goals. The present article discusses figures of merits of presently used analytical methods and instrumentation, and attempts to critically assess their limitations. In Sections 2 and 3, mass spectrometric methods applied to precise stable isotope analysis and to the determination of (41)Ca are described. Section 4 contains a short summary of selected applications, and includes tracer experiments and the potential use of biological isotope fractionation in medical studies, paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic, and other terrestrial as well as extraterrestrial investigations.Mass Spectrometry Reviews 07/2009; 29(5):685-716. · 7.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Methyl bromide is the most important natural bromine contributor to stratospheric ozone depletion, yet there are still large uncertainties regarding quantification of its sources and sinks. The stable bromine isotope composition of CH(3)Br is potentially a powerful tool to apportion its sources and to study both its transport and its reactive fate. A novel compound-specific method to measure (81)Br/(79)Br isotope ratios in CH(3)Br using gas chromatography hyphenated with inductively coupled plasma multiple-collector mass spectrometry (GC/MCICPMS) was developed. Sample amounts of >40 ng could be measured with a precision of 0.1‰ (1σ, n = 3). The method results are reproducible over the long term as shown with 36 analyses acquired over 3 months, yielding a standard deviation (1σ) better than 0.4‰. This new method demonstrates for the first time Br isotope ratio determination in gaseous brominated samples. It is three orders of magnitude more sensitive than previously existing isotope ratio mass spectrometry methods for Br isotope determination of other organobromines, thus allowing applications towards ambient atmospheric samples.Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 09/2011; 25(17):2425-32. · 2.51 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A method, based on the use of a quadrupole-based inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry instrument equipped with a quadrupole-based collision/reaction cell (dynamic reaction cell, DRC), was developed for the simultaneous determination of phosphorus, calcium and strontium in bone and dental (enamel and dentine) tissue. The use of NH3, introduced at a gas flow rate of 0.8 mL min−1 in the dynamic reaction cell, combined with a rejection parameter q (RPq) setting of 0.65, allows interference-free determination of calcium via its low-abundant isotopes 42Ca, 43Ca and 44Ca, and of strontium via its isotopes 86Sr and 88Sr that are freed from overlap due to the occurrence of ArCa+ and/or Ca2+ ions. Also the determination of phosphorus (31P, mono-isotopic) was shown to be achievable using the same dynamic reaction cell operating conditions. The bone certified reference materials NIST SRM 1400 Bone Ash and NIST SRM 1486 Bone Meal were used for validation of the measurement protocol that was shown capable of providing accurate and reproducible results. Detection limits of P, Ca and Sr in dental tissue digests were established as 3 µg L−1 for P, 2 µg L−1 for Ca and 0.2 µg L−1 for Sr. This method can be used to simultaneously (i) evaluate the impact of diagenesis on the elemental and isotopic composition of buried skeletal tissue via its Ca/P ratio and (ii) determine its Sr concentration. The measurement protocol was demonstrated as fit-for-purpose by the analysis of a set of teeth of archaeological interest for their Ca/P ratio and Sr concentration.Spectrochimica Acta Part B-atomic Spectroscopy - SPECTROCHIM ACTA PT B-AT SPEC. 01/2009; 64(5):408-415.