Analytical Sciences

Abstract − Analytical Sciences, 30(9), 871 (2014).

Effect of the Detector Dead-time Uncertainty on the Analytical Result of Minor Elements in Low-alloy Steel by Isotope Dilution/ICP Sector Field Mass Spectrometry
Naoko NONOSE, Akiharu HIOKI, and Koichi CHIBA
National Metrology Institute of Japan, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 1-1-1 Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8563, Japan
In the present study the effects of the detector dead-time and its uncertainties on the accuracy and uncertainty of isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS) were considered through an interlaboratory study on the analysis of low-alloy steel by using an ICP-sector field mass spectrometer. Also, an optimized mixing ratio of the sample and the spike to obtain highly precise results was theoretically and experimentally investigated. The detector dead-time used in the interlaboratory study showed a negative value. However, it less affected the trueness of the analytical result if the dead-time correction for the measured isotope ratio was done properly. As many researchers have pointed out, the detector dead-time showed a clear mass dependence. Therefore, it is desirable to check the dead-time in every target element by using assay standards or isotopic standards, which would lead to an accurate result even if the detector dead-time is a negative value. On the other hand, the effect of the uncertainty of the detector dead-time can be minimized when both isotope ratios and ICP-MS signals of the [sample + spike] blend in IDMS are equal to those of [spike + assay standard] in reverse IDMS. From standpoints of error magnification theory and the precision of the isotope ratio measurement, an optimized isotope ratio of the sample-spike blend would be 1.0 for an element with a large difference in ten times and more between the atomic fractions of two isotopes used for IDMS. In the case of an element with no significant difference between the atomic fractions of two isotopes, an optimized isotope ratio can be calculated by a formula expressed as a function of the atomic fractions of the sample and the spike as well as the signal of ICP-MS.