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Talanta. 2006 Jan 15;68(3):623-8. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2005.05.006. Epub 2005 Jun 23.

Uranium colloid analysis by single particle inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Department Nuclear Energy and Safety, Paul Scherrer Institut, 5232 Villigen-PSI, Switzerland.


Uranium single particle analysis has been performed by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and the performances are compared with that provided by scanning electron microscopy and single particle counting. The transient signal induced by the flash of ions due to the ionisation of an uranium colloidal particle in the plasma torch can be detected and measured for selected uranium ion masses ((238)U(+), (235)U(+) or (254)[(238)U(16)O](+)) by the mass spectrometer. The signals recorded via time scanning are analysed as a function of particle size or fraction of the studied element or isotope in the colloid phase. The frequency of the flashes is directly proportional to the concentration of particles in the colloidal suspension. The feasibility tests were performed on uranium dioxide particles. The study also describes the experimental conditions and the choice of mass to detect uranium colloids in a single particle analysis mode.

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