Development and application of mass spectrometric techniques for ultra-trace determination of 236U in environmental samples-A review

Wenting Bu, Jian Zheng, Michael E Ketterer, Sheng Hu, Shigeo Uchida, Xiaolin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Measurements of the long-lived radionuclide 236U are an important endeavor, not only in nuclear safeguards work, but also in terms of using this emerging nuclide as a tracer in chemical oceanography, hydrology, and actinide sourcing. Depending on the properties of a sample and its neutron irradiation history, 236U/238U ratios from different sources vary significantly. Therefore, this ratio can be treated as an important fingerprint for radioactive source identification, and in particular, affords a definitive means of discriminating between naturally occurring U and specific types of anthropogenic U. The development of mass spectrometric techniques makes it possible to determine ultra-trace levels of 236U in environmental samples.In this paper, we review the current status of mass spectrometric approaches for determination of 236U in environmental samples. Various sample preparation methods are summarized and compared. The mass spectrometric techniques emphasized herein are thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The strategies or principles used by each technique for the analysis of 236U are described. The performances of these techniques in terms of abundance sensitivity and detection limit are discussed in detail. To date, AMS exhibits the best capability for ultra-trace determinations of 236U. The levels and behaviors of 236U in various environmental media are summarized and discussed as well. Results suggest that 236U has an important, emerging role as a tracer for geochemical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Particle accelerators
Mass spectrometry
Oceanography
Mass Spectrometry
Actinoid Series Elements
Hydrology
accelerator mass spectrometry
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
Radioactive tracers
Neutron irradiation
Neutrons
Dermatoglyphics
chemical oceanography
mass spectrometry
Tandem Mass Spectrometry
tracer
Radioisotopes
Ionization
Isotopes
Limit of Detection

Keywords

  • U activity
  • U/U isotopic ratio
  • Chemical separation
  • Geochemical tracer
  • Mass spectrometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

Cite this

Development and application of mass spectrometric techniques for ultra-trace determination of 236U in environmental samples-A review. / Bu, Wenting; Zheng, Jian; Ketterer, Michael E; Hu, Sheng; Uchida, Shigeo; Wang, Xiaolin.

In: Analytica Chimica Acta, 2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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