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Anal Chem. 2011 Dec 1;83(23):8999-9004. doi: 10.1021/ac201795v. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

Observations of large mass-independent fractionation occurring in MC-ICPMS: implications for determination of accurate isotope amount ratios.

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  • 1Institute for National Measurement Standards, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R6, Canada.


Multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) suffers large bias in isotope amount ratio determinations which has to be properly accounted for. The choice of the proper discrimination model is crucial. Over the last few decades, the exponential mass-bias correction model (Russell's law) has become a standard curriculum in isotope amount ratio measurements. In nature, however, isotopic fractionation that deviates significantly from the exponential model has been known for a long time. Recently, such fractionation was also observed in MC-ICPMS. This phenomenon is termed mass-independent fractionation. In this study, significant departure from the mass-dependent fractionation model is reported for germanium and lead with the most dramatic occurring for germanium-73 and lead-204 isotopes wherein, on average, close to a half percent bias was evidenced from the Russell's law.

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