The air/acetylene flame provides a convenient ion source for the determination of potassium isotopic ratios by mass spectrometry. Unlike the argon inductively coupled plasma (ICP), the flame provides low background in the mass region of interest. Ion production is quite satisfactory for isotope ratio measurements at the micrograms per milliliter (μg/mL) level and slightly below, with 1 μg/mL potassium giving about 10<sup>5</sup>counts/second at a nominal mass-to-charge ratio of 39. The detection limit for potassium was 2-3 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). The ratio of <sup>41</sup>K/<sup>39</sup>K was measured with 0.5-1% relative standard deviation, and a <sup>41</sup>K spike representing 0.2% of the total potassium was readily detected. Both signal levels and signal stability were improved by adding a second easily ionized element such as cesium to samples and standards. Alternatively, a cesium solution could be aspirated for about 1 minute between sample measurements to ensure signal stability.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Flame ionization mass spectrometry--Isotope ratio determinations for potassium|
|Series title||Applied Spectroscopy|
|Contributing office(s)||Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, National Research Program - Central Branch|