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Anal Chem. 2019 Jun 4;91(11):7063-7069. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.8b05940. Epub 2019 May 22.

Application of an Isotope Binary Mixing Model for Determination of Precise Mercury Isotopic Composition in Samples with Low Mercury Concentration.

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Third Institute of Oceanography , Ministry of Natural Resources , Xiamen , Fujian 361005 , China.
State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science , Xiamen University , Xiamen , Fujian 361102 , China.
Tan KahKee College , Xiamen University , Zhangzhou , Fujian 363105 , China.


An isotope binary mixing model was applied for high precision measurement of mercury isotope ratios in samples with low mercury concentrations by multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS). Standard addition was used to evaluate the precision and accuracy of the isotope composition calculations resulting from the isotope binary mixing model. A high, steady 202Hg signal of approximately 2.13 V was achieved, with the mercury concentration reaching 3 ng/mL. The isotopic composition of three standards (NIST SRM 1646a; NIST SRM 1575a; BCR 482) and natural samples were precisely determined. The standards and natural samples were diluted to low mercury concentrations (low to 0.90 ng/mL) and mixed with standard solutions (NIST SRM 3133) with high mercury concentrations (50 ng/mL); the isotopic compositions of low mercury concentration samples were calculated using an isotope binary mixing model after the isotopic compositions of the mixing solutions were measured. The results showed that the uncertainty of the calculated mercury isotopic compositions was in an acceptable range and the calculation isotope data were in good agreement with direct measurements. Our method allows the precise determination of mercury isotope composition in mercury solutions of concentrations (0.90 ng/mL) below the detection limit of the current system (3.00 ng/mL).

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