87Sr/86Sr isotope ratio measurements by laser ablation multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry: Reconsidering matrix interferences in bioapatites and biogenic carbonates


This study is dedicated to the systematic investigation of the effect of interferences on Sr isotopic analyses in biological apatite and carbonate matrices using laser ablation multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-MC ICP-MS). Trends towards higher 87Sr/86Sr ratios for LA-MC ICP-MS compared to solution-nebulization based MC ICP-MS when analysing bioapatite matrices (e.g. human teeth) and lower ratios in case of calcium carbonates (e.g. fish ear stones) were observed. This effect can be related to the presence of significant matrix-related interferences such as molecular ions (e.g. (40Ca-31P-16O)+, (40Ar-31P-16O)+, (42Ca-44Ca)+, (46Ca40Ar)+) as well as in many cases concomitant atomic ions (e.g. 87Rb+, 174Hf2 +). Direct 87Sr/86Sr ratio measurements in Ca-rich samples are conducted without the possibility of prior sample separation, which can be accomplished routinely for solution-based analysis. The presence of Ca-Ar and Ca-Ca molecular ion interferences in the mass range of Sr isotopes is shown using the mass resolving capabilities of a single collector inductively coupled plasma sector field mass spectrometer operated in medium mass resolution when analysing bioapatites and calcium carbonate samples. The major focus was set on analysing human tooth samples, fish hard parts and geological carbonates. Potential sources of interferences were identified and corrected for. The combined corrections of interferences and adequate instrumental isotopic fractionation correction procedures lead to accurate data even though increased uncertainties have to be taken into account. The results are discussed along with approaches presented in literature for data correction in laser ablation analysis.
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