Sm-Nd isotopic analysis of mixed standard solutions by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry: evaluations on isobaric interference correction of Nd isotopic composition and external calibration of Sm/Nd ratio
© Ryu et al.; licensee Springer. 2013
Received: 12 March 2013
Accepted: 12 March 2013
Published: 18 April 2013
The Sm-Nd isotope system has long been used to provide information on the age and geochemical evolution of terrestrial rocks and extraterrestrial objects. Traditional thermal ionization mass spectrometry requires a refined chemical separation of Sm and Nd. Here, we present multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) Sm-Nd isotopic results for a series of mixed standard solutions with different Sm/Nd ratios to test the validity of isobaric interference corrections of Nd isotopic composition and external calibration of Sm/Nd inter-elemental ratio.
Reliable 143Nd/144Nd and 145Nd/144Nd ratios of the mixed solutions were obtained by using the exponential law and selected Sm isotopic compositions. The Sm/Nd ratios of the mixed solutions corrected by the standard bracketing method were consistent with the gravimetric values mostly within 1% difference.
This study provides a simple and high-throughput technique that can simultaneously measure Nd isotopic composition and Sm/Nd ratio without chemical separation between Sm and Nd.
KeywordsSm-Nd MC-ICP-MS Isobaric interference Isotopic composition Inter-elemental ratio
Sm and Nd are rare earth elements presenting in only small amounts in most rock-forming minerals. Sm and Nd each have seven naturally occurring isotopes (144Sm, 147Sm, 148Sm, 149Sm, 150Sm, 152Sm, 154Sm; 142Nd, 143Nd, 144Nd, 145Nd, 146Nd, 148Nd, 150Nd). One isotope of Sm (147Sm) decays by α-emission to one isotope of Nd (143Nd) with a half-life of 106 Ga (Lugmair & Marti 1978; Begemann et al. 2001). The Sm-Nd decay system has been efficiently used for determining the timing of major events occurred during the chemical evolution of planets and probing into the earth's interior (DePaolo 1988). The application of this system demands highly accurate Sm-Nd isotope data because its half-life is very long and natural variations in Sm/Nd inter-elemental ratio are typically quite limited.
Although the traditional thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) is still regarded as the benchmark technique for Sm-Nd isotopic measurement (Chu et al. 2009; Harvey & Baxter 2009; Ali & Srinivasan 2011), more recent multi collector-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) has also become a routine technique with high sample throughput and comparable precision to TIMS (Walder et al. 1993; Vance & Thirlwall 2002; Yang et al. 2010; Yang et al. 2011). The classic Sm-Nd isotope analysis requires a separation of two elements from the sample matrix by refined chemical procedures. Recently, however, it was reported that the 143Nd/144Nd ratio of geological samples could be measured accurately by MC-ICP-MS without Sm and Nd separation (Yang et al. 2010). This study further evaluates the validity of Nd isotopic and Sm/Nd elemental ratio measurements for a series of Sm + Nd mixed standard solutions by MC-ICP-MS technique, and revisited various sets of reported Sm isotopic composition.
Instrumental setting and operational parameters
RF forward power
RF reflected power
< 2 W
0.75 - 0.80 L/min
0.985 - 0.990 L/min
Quartz dual cyclonic
ESI PFA MicroFlow
Sample uptake rate
Mass analyzer pressure
2.9 × 10-9 mbar
Measurement of Nd standard solutions
The basic performance of KBSI Neptune was tested by using the JNdi standard solution with Nd concentration of 100 μg/L. The mass bias was exponentially normalized to 146Nd/144Nd = 0.7219. One measurement consists of 9 blocks of 10 cycles with an integration time of 4.194 s. The average 143Nd/144Nd ratio was 0.512100 ± 0.000004 (n = 10, 2σ S.E.), in reasonable agreement with the recommended value (0.512115 ± 0.000007) (Tanaka et al. 2000).
The in-house Nd standard solution of 100 μg/L was prepared from the AccuTrace™ Nd Reference Standard (lot no. B9035110, plasma emission standard). It yielded an average 143Nd/144Nd ratio of 0.512204 ± 0.000005 (n = 9, 2σ S.E.) with the same analytical design as above (9 blocks of 10 cycles with an integration time of 4.194 s). Two diluted in-house Nd solutions of 50 and 10 μg/L also yielded comparable results of 143Nd/144Nd = 0.512212 ± 0.000006 (n = 5, 2σ S.E.) and 0.512207 ± 0.000004 (n = 5, 2σ S.E.), respectively.
Isobaric interference correction
where M denotes the mass of the isotope.
Finally, the 144Sm-corrected 143Nd/144Nd ratio was exponentially normalized to 146Nd/144Nd = 0.7219.
Sm isotopic compositions were iteratively solved to minimize the residual sum of squares between corrected 143Nd/144Nd ratio of Sm-doped Nd standard solution and the unspiked value using the Excel Solver. The result suggests that the ratios of 147Sm to 149Sm and 144Sm to 149Sm would be 1.0844 and 0.22233, respectively. Because these values are the closest to the recommended values in (Wasserburg et al. 1981), we hereafter use 1.0851 and 0.22249 as the (147Sm/149Sm)true and (144Sm/149Sm)true ratios for correcting mass fractionation of Sm and calculating its isobaric contribution to 144Nd.
Nd isotope ratios of the Sm-doped Nd standard solutions with the Sm/Nd ratio of 0.2
100 μg/L Nd
200 μg/L Nd
50 μg/L Nd
Sm-Nd isotopic data of the Sm-doped Nd standard solutions of 100 μg/L Nd
Calibration of Sm/Nd ratio
The instrumental mass bias on isotope measurements could be corrected by using either double-spike or standard bracketing methods. The latter method consists in interpolating the mass bias of an unknown sample between the biases inferred from two standard runs, one preceding and one following the sample analysis (Albarede & Beard 2004).
In order to correct the inter-elemental mass bias on the measurement, this study considered the Sm-doped Nd standard solution with the Sm/Nd of 0.2 as the bracketing standard and various mixed solutions with different Sm/Nd values (Sm/Nd = ca. 0.1, 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5) as unknown samples. During the measurements, the average correlation factor in the instrumental mass bias inferred from the standard runs was 0.943 ± 0.002 (n = 7, 2σ S.E.), which yielded consistent Sm/Nd ratios with gravimetric Sm/Nd values mostly within 1% difference (Table 3; Figure 3). This result indicates that the mass bias in the measurement of the Sm/Nd ratio can be reasonably corrected by the standard bracketing method.
The Nd concentrations of the mixed solutions were calculated based on the intensity of the bracketing standard of 100-101 μg/L. Calculated Nd concentrations were consistent with gravimetric values within 3% difference (Table 3).
We evaluated the capability of a Neptune MC-ICP-MS to obtain accurate Nd isotopic composition and Sm/Nd elemental ratio using a series of Sm + Nd mixed standard solutions with different Sm/Nd ratios. The isobaric interference correction using the exponential law and selected Sm isotopic composition yielded accurate 143Nd/144Nd and 145Nd/144Nd ratios for the mixed solutions, although there is a systematic increasing trend in the corrected 143Nd/144Nd ratios with increasing Sm/Nd ratios. The Sm/Nd ratios of the Sm-doped Nd standard solutions could be reliably calibrated by the standard bracketing method mostly within 1% difference from the gravimetric values. These results indicate that accurate Nd isotopic composition and Sm/Nd ratio can be simultaneously measured by a simple and high-throughput technique without chemical separation of Sm and Nd.
This study was supported by the KBSI grants (G33200 and C33710).
- Albarede F, Beard B: Analytical methods for Non-traditional isotopes. Rev Mineral Geochem 2004, 55: 113–152. 10.2138/gsrmg.55.1.113View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Ali A, Srinivasan G: Precise thermal ionization mass spectrometric measurements of 142 Nd/ 144 Nd and 143 Nd/ 144 Nd isotopic ratios of Nd separated from geological standards by chromatographic methods. Int J Mass Spectrom 2011, 299: 27–34. 10.1016/j.ijms.2010.09.014View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Begemann F, Ludwig KR, Lugmair GW, Min K, Nyquist LE, Patchett PJ, Renne PR, Shin C-Y, Villa IM, Walker RJ: Call for an improved set of decay constants for geochronological use. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 2001, 65: 111–121. 10.1016/S0016-7037(00)00512-3View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Berglund M, Wieser ME: Isotopic compositions of the elements 2009 (IUPAC Technical Report). Pure Appl Chem 2011, 83: 397–410. 10.1351/PAC-REP-10-06-02View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Chu Z, Chen F, Yang Y, Guo J: Precise determination of Sm, Nd concentrations and Nd isotopic compositions at the nanogram level in geological samples by thermal ionization mass spectrometry. J Anal At Spectrom 2009, 24: 1534–1544. 10.1039/b904047aView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- DePaolo DJ: Neodymium isotope geochemistry. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 1988.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Harvey J, Baxter EF: An improved method for TIMS high precision neodymium isotope analysis of very small aliquots (1–10 ng). Chem Geol 2009, 258: 251–257. 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.10.024View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Lugmair GW, Marti K: Lunar initial 143 Nd/ 144 Nd: Differential evolution of the lunar crust and mantle. Earth Planet Sci Lett 1978, 39: 349–357. 10.1016/0012-821X(78)90021-3View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- McFarlane CRM, McCulloch MT: Coupling of in-situ Sm-Nd systematics and U-Pb dating of monazite and allanite with applications to crustal evolution studies. Chem Geol 2007, 245: 45–60. 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2007.07.020View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Russel WA, Papanastassiou DA, Tombrello TA: Ca isotope fractionation on the earth and other solar system materials. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 1978, 42: 1075–1090. 10.1016/0016-7037(78)90105-9View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Tanaka T, Togashi S, Kamioka H, Amakawa H, Kagami H, Hamamoto T, Yuhara M, Orihashi Y, Yoneda S, Shimizu H, Kunimaru T, Takahashi K, Yanagi T, Nakano T, Fujimaki H, Shinjo R, Asahara Y, Tanimizu M, Dragusanu C: JNdi-1: a new neodymium isotopic reference in consistency with LaJolla neodymium. Chem Geol 2000, 168: 279–281. 10.1016/S0009-2541(00)00198-4View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Vance D, Thirlwall M: An assessment of mass discrimination in MC-ICPMS using Nd isotopes. Chem Geol 2002, 185: 227–240. 10.1016/S0009-2541(01)00402-8View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Walder A, Platzner I, Freedman PA: Isotope ratio measurement of lead, neodymium and neodymium-samarium mixtures, hafnium and hafnium-lutetium mixtures with a double focusing multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. J Anal At Spectrom 1993, 8: 19–23. 10.1039/ja9930800019View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Wasserburg GJ, Jacobsen SB, DePaolo DJ, McCulloch MT, Wen T: Precise determination of Sm/Nd ratios, Sm and Nd isotopic abundances in standard solutions. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 1981, 45: 2311–2323. 10.1016/0016-7037(81)90085-5View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Yang Y, Wu F, Xie L, Zhang Y: High-precision measurements of the 143 Nd/ 144 Nd isotope ratio in certified reference materials without Nd and Sm separation by multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Anal Lett 2010, 43: 142–150.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Yang Y-H, Chu Z-Y, Wu F-Y, Xie L-W, Yang J-H: Precise and accurate determination of Sm, Nd concentrations and Nd isotopic compositions in geological samples by MC-ICP-MS. J Anal At Spectrom 2011, 26: 1237–1244. 10.1039/c1ja00001bView ArticleGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.