Development of an analytical method for the measurement of copper isotope ratios in mineral exploration
LE3 .A278 2011
Bachelor of Science
A method was developed for measuring copper isotope ratios with a quadrupole inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). The optimization process targeted the instrument timings, peristaltic pump, spray chamber, and minimizing the effect of fluctuations in the plasma through collisional damping. The optimized setup involved the implementation of a self-aspirating sample probe and a Peltier-cooled dual component chamber spray chamber. However, collisional damping with an inert gas using neon and with a reactive gas using methane were not effective in improving isotope ratio precision. Copper isotope ratios were measured with a relative standard deviation (RSD) of 0.038 ± 0.001 % using the optimized method. To the best of my knowledge, this is the highest precision that has been attained for the measurement of copper isotope ratios by quadrupole ICP-MS, which could have very favourable applications for geochemical exploration as well as source apportionment, tracking the history of contaminants, and studying pathways and processes by which contaminants are distributed within the environment.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.