In situ determination of sulfur isotopes in sulfur-rich materials by laser ablation multiple-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICP-MS)

Paul R.D. Mason, Jan Košler, Jan C.M. De Hoog, Paul J. Sylvester, Simon Meffan-Main

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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A new method has been developed for the accurate and precise measurement of sulfur isotopes (32S, 33S, 34S) in solids on a scale down to 80-100 μm by laser ablation multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICP-MS). The method was developed independently on two different sets of instrumentation, both of which give equivalent results with comparable accuracy and precision. The first instrumental set-up utilizes Xe gas in a hexapole collision and reaction cell for interference attenuation coupled with a mass discrimination correction by external normalization using a nebulised vapour of 37Cl/ 35Cl standard solution. The second employs high mass resolution by sector field mass spectrometry to avoid the interfering O2 + isobars with a 30Si/29Si standard aerosol for external normalization. The external isotope mass discrimination correction was applied using the exponential law and was further calibrated for both sets of instrumentation by linear interpolation in a sample-standard bracketing method. Mean δ34SV-CDT and δ33S V-CDT show excellent agreement (within analytical error, typically 0.6 and 1.5‰, respectively) with compiled data for IAEA-S series AgS standard reference materials. Results for NIST SRM 127 (sulfate) were less accurate when calibrated against the IAEA-S series sulfides, whilst significant and consistent deviations in accuracy of up to 3‰ were observed in both sets of instrumentation for Soufre de Lacq SRM sulfur. Such generic matrix effects may be widespread in LA-ICP-MS due to differential ablation rates, particle formation, particle transport efficiency and ionization efficiency in an argon plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of analytical atomic spectrometry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 10 2006


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