A revision in hydrogen isotopic composition of USGS42 and USGS43 human-hair stable isotopic reference materials for forensic science

Forensic Science International
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Abstract

The hydrogen isotopic composition (δ2HVSMOW-SLAP) of USGS42 and USGS43 human hair stable isotopic reference materials, normalized to the VSMOW (Vienna-Standard Mean Ocean Water)–SLAP (Standard Light Antarctic Precipitation) scale, was originally determined with a high temperature conversion technique using an elemental analyzer (TC/EA) with a glassy carbon tube and glassy carbon filling and analysis by isotope-ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS). However, the TC/EA IRMS method can produce inaccurate δ2HVSMOW-SLAPresults when analyzing nitrogen-bearing organic substances owing to the formation of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), leading to non-quantitative conversion of a sample into molecular hydrogen (H2) for IRMS analysis. A single-oven, chromium-filled, elemental analyzer (Cr-EA) coupled to an IRMS substantially improves the measurement quality and reliability of hydrogen isotopic analysis of hydrogen- and nitrogen-bearing organic material because hot chromium scavenges all reactive elements except hydrogen. USGS42 and USGS43 human hair isotopic reference materials have been analyzed with the Cr-EA IRMS method, and the δ2HVSMOW-SLAP values of their non-exchangeable hydrogen fractions have been revised:

Math Eq
Math Eq

where mUr = 0.001 = ‰. On average, these revised δ2HVSMOW-SLAP values are 5.7 mUr more positive than those previously measured. It is critical that readers pay attention to the δ2HVSMOW-SLAP of isotopic reference materials in publications as they may need to adjust the δ2HVSMOW–SLAP measurement results of human hair in previous publications to ensure all results are on the same isotope-delta scale.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A revision in hydrogen isotopic composition of USGS42 and USGS43 human-hair stable isotopic reference materials for forensic science
Series title Forensic Science International
DOI 10.1016/j.forsciint.2016.05.029
Volume 266
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Eastern Branch
Description 4 p.
First page 222
Last page 225