Principle and analytical applications of resonance lonization mass spectrometry
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Resonance ionization mass spectrometry (RIMS) is a very sensitive analytical technique for the detection of trace elements. This method is based on the excitation and ionization of atoms with resonant laser light followed by mass analysis. It allows element and, in some cases, isotope selective ionization and is applicable to most of the elements of the periodic table. A high selectivity can be achieved by applying three step photoionization of the elements under investigation and an additional mass separation for an unambiguous isotope assignment.
An effective facility for resonance ionization mass spectrometry consists of three dye lasers which are pumped by two copper vapor lasers and of a linear time-of-flight spectrometer with a resolution better than 2500. Each copper vapor laser has a pulse repetition rate of 6.5 kHz and an average output power of 30 W.
With such an apparatus measurements with lanthanide-, actinide-, and technetium-samples have been performed. By saturating the excitation steps and by using autoionizing states for the ionization step a detection efficiency of 4 × 10−6 and 2.5 × 10−6 has been reached for plutonium and technetium, respectively, leading to a detection limit of less than 107 atoms in the sample. Measurements of isotope ratios of plutonium samples were in good agreement with mass-spectrometric data. The high elemental selectivity of the resonance ionization spectrometry could be demonstrated.
Key wordsresonance ionization mass spectrometry detection of trace elements actinides technetium
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