Determination of Iridium in Natural Waters by Clean Chemical Extraction and Negative Ionization Mass Spectrometry

A. D. Anbar, D. A. Papanastassiou, G. J. Wasserburg

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28 Scopus citations


Methods for the precise, routine measurement of Ir in seawater, riverwater, and estuarine water using isotope dilution negative thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-NTIMS) have been developed. After equilibration with a 191Ir-enriched spike, Ir is separated from solution by coprecipitation with ferric hydroxide, followed by anion exchange chromatography using a reductive elution technique. UV irradiation is employed for the decomposition of trace organics, which interfere with negative ion production. IrO2- ions are produced in the mass spectrometer by heating the sample on a Ni-wire filament in the presence of Ba(OH)2. Detection efficiencies ranged from 0.1% to 0.3%. We have used these procedures to determine the concentrations of Ir in 4 kg samples from the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Baltic Sea, and the rivers supplying the Baltic. Our chemical procedures introduce a total blank of ∼2 × 108 atoms per sample. The distribution of Ir in the oceans is fairly uniform, averaging ∼4 × 108 atoms kg-1. The concentrations in the rivers supplying the Baltic Sea range from (17.4 ± 0.9) × 108 for a pristine river to (92.9 ± 2.2) × 108 atoms kg-1 for a polluted river. The distribution, speciation, and transport of Ir in natural waters can now be subjected to intensive study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2444-2450
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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