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Characterization Of Nuclear Materials Using Time-Of-Flight ICP-MS...

by Stefan Buerger, Lee Riciputi, Debra A Bostick, Douglas C Duckworth
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
Final Program - Book of Abstracts
Publication Date
Page Numbers
139 to 139
Conference Name
Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy SocietiesFACSS 2006
Conference Location
Lake Buena Vista, California, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies,
Conference Date

The investigation of illicit trafficking of nuclear materials, nuclear safeguards analysis, and non-proliferation control requires sensitive and isotope-selective detection methods to gain crucial nuclear forensic information like isotope 'fingerprints' and multi-element signatures. The advantage of time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry - quasi-simultaneous multi-mass analysis - combined with an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) ion source provides an analytical instrument with multi-element and multi-isotope capability and good detection limits. A TOF-ICP-MS system thus appears to be an advantageous choice for the investigation and characterization of nuclear materials. We present here results using a GBC OptiMass 8000 time-of-flight ICP-MS for the isotope screening of solid samples by laser ablation and the multi-element determination of impurities in uranium ore concentrates using matrix matched standards.

A laser ablation system (New Wave Research, UP 213) coupled to the TOF-ICP-MS instrument has been used to optimize the system for analysis of non-radioactive metal samples of natural isotopic composition for a variety of elements including Cu, Sr, Zr, Mo, Cd, In, Ba, Ta, W, Re, Pt, and Pb in pure metals, alloys, and glasses to explore precision, accuracy, and detection limits. Similar methods were then applied to measure uranium. When the laser system is optimized, no mass bias correction is required. Precision and accuracy for the determination of the isotopic composition is typically 1 - 3% for elemental concentrations of as little as 50 ppm in the matrix, with no requirement for sample preparation. The laser ablation precision and accuracy are within ~10x of the instrumental limits for liquid analysis (0.1%).

We have investigated the capabilities of the TOF-ICP-MS for the analysis of impurities in uranium matrices. Matrix matching has been used to develop calibration curves for a range of impurities (alkaline, earth-alkaline, transition metals, and rare earth elements). These calibration curves have been used to measure impurities in a number of uranium samples. The results from the TOF-ICP-MS will be compared with other mass spectrometric methods.