Lead isotope measurements on aerosol samples with ICP-MS

Christian R. Widmer, Urs Krähenbühl, Jan Kramers, Leonhard Tobler

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Size fractionated aerosols were collected with low pressure Berner impactors on a radio/TV tower 110 m above ground on a hill 10 km east of Bern at a total elevation of 1060 m asl. Two different wind sectors were chosen with the goal of assessing any differences in lead concentration and the 3 radiogenic lead isotopes (206,207,208) for east and west wind, respectively. A leaching technique was used to extract the lead quantitatively from the surface of the impaction foils. This method has been proven to be better suited for airborne particles than complete microwave digestion because it is less time consuming and contamination risk is smaller. Blank considerations played a major role in choosing all the chemicals, tubes, beakers and selecting the analytical method. Lead concentrations were determined with GF-AAS and lead isotopes with two different ICP-MS systems, one being a multicollector system. Precision of the simultaneous multicollector system was found to be at least a factor of 3 better than that of the sequentially operating ICP-MS. The small variations in isotope ratios from the two wind sectors can be distinctly seen with this enhanced precision. The observed relative difference in isotope ratios between east- and westwind was ∼0.6% for 207Pb/206Pb and ∼0.5% for 208Pb/206Pb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-173
Number of pages3
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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