Ce–Nd separation by solid-phase micro-extraction and its application to high-precision 142Nd/144Nd measurements using TIMS in geological materials
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In view of the low initial abundance of 146Sm, 142Nd anomalies are expected to be extremely small (less than 40 ppm), and their detection requires ultra-precise 142Nd/144Nd measurements. A rapid solid-phase micro-extraction (SPME) technique, using HEHEHP resin as sorbent, is established to completely separate Ce from rare earth element (REE) mixtures. This technique is applied to ultra-high-precision 142Nd/144Nd measurements in geological materials. In contrast to the traditional liquid–liquid micro-extraction (LLME) technique, the benefits of the SPME tandem column are high Nd recovery, low residual Ce (Ce/Nd < 10−6), and easy operability. In addition, a single HEHEHP resin column, replacing the traditional two-column scheme (AG 50W + HDEHP resins), is used to further purify Nd by removing Na salt and Sm isobaric interferences. All mean values of 140Ce/144Nd of geological samples after separation never exceed 0.000010 even though the Ce/Nd ratio of geological materials is >3.0. Thus, 142Ce interferences on 142Nd never exceed 1.3 ppm. Ultra-high-precision thermal ionization mass spectrometry analyses of silicate standards show that the internal precision of all runs are better than 4 ppm (2 RSE) for 142Nd/144Nd values. 142Nd/144Nd values for JNdi-1, JR-3, and BCR-2 have external precisions of ±4.8, ±4.4, and ±3.9 ppm (2 RSD), respectively. The external reproducibility is sufficient to distinguish and resolve 5 ppm anomalies in 142Nd/144Nd values.
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