Determination of Femtogram-Level Plutonium Isotopes in Environmental and Forensic Samples with High-Level Uranium Using Chemical Separation and ICP-MS/MS Measurement

Xiaolin Hou, Weichao Zhang, Yanyun Wang

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    Abstract

    ICP-MS is becoming a competitive technique for measurement of plutonium isotopes. Besides the abundance sensitivity (tailing of 238U to m/z = 239 and 240), isobaric and polyatomic ions interferences (e.g., 238U1H+) are the most critical challenges for determination of low-level plutonium in high uranium samples. This work presents a new method to solve this problem using ICP-MS with two tandem quadrupole separators and a dynamic collision/reaction cell combined with chemical separation. The interference of uranium hydrides (238U1H+ and 238U1H2+) was effectively eliminated using CO2 as reaction gas by converting hydrides to oxides of uranium ions (UO+/UO2+) but still keeping the intensity of the Pu+ signal. The tailing interference of 238U+ (abundance sensitivity) was intensively eliminated by significantly suppressing the 238U+ signal using CO2 as reaction gas and using two tandem quadrupole mass separators in the ICP-MS/MS. With these approaches the overall interference of uranium was reduced to
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAnalytical chemistry
    Volume91
    Issue number18
    Pages (from-to)11553-11561
    ISSN0003-2700
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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