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Faraday detector uranium isotope ratio measurement: Insights from solution- and laser ablation-based sampling methodologies o...

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International Journal of Mass Spectrometry
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In this study we utilize an all-faraday cup detector configuration on the Neoma MC-ICP-MS to perform uranium isotope ratio determinations from certified reference materials and a nuclear fuel precursor material via solution and laser ablation based sampling methodologies. The goal in performing these measurements is primarily to demonstrate that the all-faraday cup method can produce highly precise and accurate isotope ratios even at relatively low signal intensity levels while also developing a preliminary understanding of how the complex interplay between different amplifier resistor levels (e.g. 1011 vs 1013 Ω) and integration times impacts the precision and accuracy of different types of measurements. Our results show that the faraday cups with 1013 Ω resistors in their amplifier feedback loops can be used to produce accurate and relatively precise isotope ratios for ion beams down to ∼5 K cps. However, at the lower end of the signal intensities observed in this study, longer integration times are necessary to mitigate the impact of ion beam instability that can occur during laser ablation based sampling. Despite this potential limitation, the all-faraday cup method is highly versatile as exemplified by the analysis of a collection of uranium reference materials with highly variable uranium isotopic compositions.