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Iron isotopes offer an excellent opportunity for detailed tracing of natural processes, because of the range of stable isotopes and the importance of iron redox transitions in biochemical processes. The analyses of stable isotopes of iron have concentrated on improving the mass spectrometric technique for analysis, using the low temperature silica gel/boric acid ionisation technique on a source filament assembly of platinum and ceramic. A prototype microsample loader for "V" dimpled Delmore filaments has been completed. With the microsample loader, 15 nanolitres of solution can be consistently point loaded onto a filament. The benefits of microloading are that it limits and controls sample contamination, allows better control of sample ionisation, and allows smaller quantities of material to be reproducibly analysed. These analysis techniques eliminate time and temperature dependent isotopic fractionation by the ionisation process. Isobarics produced in the source are also significantly reduced. Certified iron isotope standards have been obtained through collaboration with the Central Bureau of Nuclear Measurements, and fractionation of iron isotopes is being evaluated further during analysis. Iron isotope compositions for a range of natural materials are also being determined.

Additional information

Authors: DIXON P R ET AL., Los Alamos National Laboratories, Los Alamos (US);MAECK R, JRC Geel (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: O. Nier Symposium, Durango (US), May 6-9, 1991
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 36300 ORA
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