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- Isotope reference material (1)
- Lead isotope variations (1)
- Lead isotopic composition (1)
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#### Organisationseinheit der BAM

Lead isotope amount ratios are commonly used in diverse fields such as archaeometry, geochemistry and forensic science. Currently, five reference materials with certified lead isotope amount ratios are available, namely NIST SRM 981, 982 and 983, GBW-04442 and NMIJ 3681-a. Only NIST SRM 981 and NMIJ 3681-a have approximately natural isotopic compositions, and NIST SRM 981 is predominantly used for correcting mass discrimination/mass fractionation in the applied mass spectrometric procedures. Consequently, there is no other certified reference material available to be used for validation and/or quality control of the analytical procedures applied to lead isotope amount ratio measurements. To fill this gap, two new reference materials have been produced and certified for their lead isotope amount ratios. For both certified reference materials, complete uncertainty budgets have been calculated and SI traceability has been established. This provides the users with independent means for validating and verifying their analytical procedures and for conducting quality control measures. ERM-EB400 is a bronze material with a nominal lead mass fraction of 45 mg kg-1 and certified lead isotope amount ratios of n(206Pb)/n(204Pb) = 18.072(17) mol mol-1, n(207Pb)/n(204Pb) = 15.578(18) mol mol-1 and n(208Pb)/n(204Pb) = 38.075(46) mol mol-1 with the associated expanded uncertainties (k = 2) given in brackets. ERM-AE142 is a high-purity solution of lead in 2% nitric acid with a nominal mass fraction of 100 mg kg-1 and certified Pb isotope amount ratios of n(206Pb)/n(204Pb) = 21.114(17) mol mol-1, n(207Pb)/n(204Pb) = 15.944(17) mol mol-1 and n(208Pb)/n(204Pb) = 39.850(44) mol mol-1 with the associated expanded uncertainties (k = 2) given in brackets. Both materials are specifically designed to fall within the natural lead isotopic variation and to assist users with the validation and verification of their analytical procedures. Note that while one of these reference materials requires the chemical separation of Pb from its matrix (ERM-EB400), the other does not (ERM-AE142). As additional information, δ208/206PbNIST SRM981 values are provided for both materials. For ERM-AE142, a delta value of δ208/206PbNIST SRM981 = -28.21(30) ‰ was obtained, and for ERM-EB400, a delta value of δ208/206PbNIST SRM981 = -129.47(38) ‰ was obtained, with the associated expanded uncertainties (k = 2) given in brackets.

For the first time, an international comparison was conducted on the determination of the purity of a high purity element. Participants were free to choose any analytical approach appropriate for their institute’s applications and services. The material tested was a high purity zinc, which had earlier been assessed for homogeneity and previously used in CCQM-K72 for the determination of six defined metallic impurities. Either a direct metal assay of the Zn mass fraction was undertaken by EDTA titrimetry, or an indirect approach was used wherein all impurities, or at least the major ones, were determined and their sum subtracted from ideal purity of 100 %, or 1 kg/kg. Impurity assessment techniques included glow discharge mass spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and carrier gas hot extraction/combustion analysis. Up to 91 elemental impurities covering metals, non-metals and semi-metals/metalloids were quantified. Due to the lack of internal experience or experimental capabilities, some participants contracted external laboratories for specific analytical tasks, mainly for the analysis of non-metals. The reported purity, expressed as zinc mass fraction in the high purity zinc material, showed excellent agreement for all participants, with a relative standard deviation of 0.011 %. The calculated reference value, w(Zn) = 0.999 873 kg/kg, was assigned an asymmetric combined uncertainty of + 0.000025 kg/kg and – 0.000028 kg/kg. Comparability amongst participating metrology institutes is thus demonstrated for the purity determination of high purity metals which have no particular difficulties with their decomposition / dissolution process when solution-based analytical methods are used, or which do not have specific difficulties when direct analysis approaches are used. Nevertheless, further development is required in terms of uncertainty assessment, quantification of non-metals and the determination of purity of less pure elements and/or for those elements suffering difficulties with the decomposition process.

Lead (Pb) isotope amount ratios are commonly used in applications ranging from archaeology and forensic sciences to terrestrial and extra-terrestrial geochemistry. Despite their utility and frequency of use, only three certified isotope amount ratio reference materials are currently available for Pb: NIST SRMs 981, 982 and 983. Because SRM 981 has a natural Pb isotopic composition, it is mainly used for correcting instrumental mass discrimination or fractionation. This means that, at present, there are no other certified isotope reference materials with natural Pb isotopic composition that could be used for validating or verifying an analytical procedure involving the measurement of Pb isotope amount ratios.
To fill this gap, two new reference materials, both certified for their Pb isotopic composition, have been produced together with a complete uncertainty assessment. These new reference materials offer SI traceability and an independent means of validating or verifying analytical procedures used to produce Pb isotope amount ratio measurements.
ERM-EB400 is a bronze material containing a nominal Pb mass fraction of 45 mg/kg. ERM-AE142 is a high purity solution of Pb with a nominal mass fraction of 100 mg/kg. Both materials have been specifically produced to assist analysts in verifying or validating their analytical procedures. Note that while one of these reference materials requires the chemical separation of Pb from its matrix (ERM-EB400), the other does not (ERM-AE142). Details on the certification of these isotope reference materials are provided in this report.

The aim of this comparison was to demonstrate the capability of national metrology institutes to measure elemental mass fractions at a level of w(E) ≈ 1 g/kg as found in almost all mono-elemental calibration solutions. These calibration solutions represent an important link in traceability systems in inorganic analysis. Virtually all traceable routine measurements are linked to the SI through these calibration solutions. Every participant was provided with three solutions of each of the three selected elements chromium, cobalt and lead. This comparison was a joint activity of the Inorganic Analysis Working Group (IAWG) and the Electrochemical Analysis Working Group (EAWG) of the CCQM and was piloted by the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB, Braunschweig, Germany) with the help of the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM, Berlin, Germany), the Centro Nacional de Metrología (CENAM, Querétaro, Mexico) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Gaithersburg, USA).
A small majority of participants applied inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP OES) in combination with a variety of calibration strategies (one-point-calibration, bracketing, calibration curve, each with and without an internal standard). But also IDMS techniques were carried out on quadrupole, high resolution and multicollector ICP-MS machines as well as a TIMS machine. Several participants applied titrimetry. FAAS as well as ICP-MS combined with non-IDMS calibration strategies were used by at least one participant. The key comparison reference values (KCRV) were agreed upon during the IAWG/EAWG meeting in November 2011 held in Sydney as the added element content calculated from the gravimetric sample preparation. Accordingly the degrees of equivalence were calculated. Despite the large variety of methods applied no superior method could be identified. The relative deviation of the median of the participants' results from the gravimetric reference value was equal or smaller than 0.1% (with an average of 0.05%) in the case of all three elements.