A Simple, Low-Blank Batch Purification Method for High-Precision Boron Isotope Analysis

M. Trudgill*, S. Nuber, H. E. Block, J. Crumpton-Banks, H. Jurikova, E. Littley, M. Shankle, C. Xu, R. C.J. Steele, J. W.B. Rae

*Corresponding author for this work

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Boron (B) isotopes are widely used in the Earth sciences to trace processes ranging from slab recycling in the mantle to changes in ocean pH and atmospheric CO2. Boron isotope analysis is increasingly achieved by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, which requires separation of B from the sample matrix. Traditional column chromatography methods for this separation have a well-established track record but are time consuming and prone to contamination from airborne blank. Here, we present an extensive array of tests that establish a novel method for B purification using a batch method. We discuss the key controls and limitations on sample loading, matrix removal and B elution including sample volume, ionic strength, buffer to acid ratio and elution volume, all of which may also help optimize column-based methods. We find consistent, low procedural blanks of 10 ± 16 pg and excellent reproducibility: 10 ng NIST RM 8301 foram [8301f] yields 14.58 ± 0.11‰ 2SD n = 15; 2.5 ng 8301f yields 14.60 ± 0.19‰ 2SD, n = 31; and overall long term 2SD on n = 218 samples pooling different sample sizes yields 14.62 ± 0.21‰ 2SD. This method also offers significant advantages in throughput, allowing the processing of 24 samples in ∼5 hr. This boron batch method thus provides a fast, reproducible, low-blank method for purification of boron for high precision isotopic analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023GC011350
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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