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Issue 12, 2017
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La–Ce isotope measurements by multicollector-ICPMS

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The 138La–138Ce decay system (half-life 1.02 × 1011 years) is a potentially highly useful tool to unravel information about the timing of geological processes and about the interaction of geological reservoirs on earth, complementing information from the more popular 147Sm–143Nd and 176Lu–176Hf isotope systems. Previously published analytical protocols were limited to TIMS. Here we present for the first time an analytical protocol that employs MC-ICPMS, with an improved precision and sensitivity. To perform sufficiently accurate La–Ce measurements, an efficient ion-chromatographic procedure is required to separate Ce from the other rare earth elements (REE) and Ba quantitatively. This study presents an improved ion-chromatographic procedure that separates La and Ce from rock samples using a three-step column separation. After REE separation by cation exchange, Ce is separated employing an Ln Spec column and selective oxidation. In the last step, a cation clean-up chemistry is performed to remove all remaining interferences. Our MC-ICPMS measurement protocol includes all stable Ce isotopes (136Ce, 138Ce, 140Ce and 142Ce), by employing a 1010 ohm amplifier for the most abundant isotope 140Ce. An external reproducibility of ±0.25ε-units (2 r.s.d) has been routinely achieved for 138Ce measurements for as little as 150–600 ng Ce, depending on the sample–skimmer cone combinations being used. Because the traditionally used JMC-304 Ce reference material is not commercially available anymore, a new reference material was prepared from AMES laboratory Ce metal (Cologne-AMES). In order to compare the new material with the previously reported isotopic composition of AMES material prepared at Mainz (Mainz-AMES), Cologne-AMES and JMC-304 were measured relative to each other in the same analytical session, demonstrating isotope heterogeneity between the two AMES and different JMC-304 batches used in the literature. To enable sufficiently precise age correction of radiogenic 138Ce and to perform isochron dating, a protocol was developed where La and Ce concentrations are determined by isotope dilution (ID), using an isotope tracer enriched in 138La and 142Ce. The new protocols were applied to determine the variations of Ce isotope compositions and La–Ce concentrations of certified geochemical reference materials (CRMs): BCR-2, BCR-1, BHVO-2, JR-1, JA-2, JB-3, JG-1, JR-1, JB-1b, AGV-1 and one in-house La Palma standard.

Graphical abstract: La–Ce isotope measurements by multicollector-ICPMS

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Publication details

The article was received on 26 Jul 2017, accepted on 12 Oct 2017 and first published on 12 Oct 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7JA00256D
Citation: J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2017,32, 2360-2370
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    La–Ce isotope measurements by multicollector-ICPMS

    C. Schnabel, C. Münker and E. Strub, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2017, 32, 2360
    DOI: 10.1039/C7JA00256D

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