Title: Characterizing uranium oxide reference particles for isotopic abundances and uranium mass by single particle isotope dilution mass spectrometry
Citation: ANALYTICA CHIMICA ACTA vol. 748 p. 37-44
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC74782
ISSN: 0003-2670
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003267012012007
DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2012.08.030
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Uranium and plutonium particulate test materials are becoming increasingly important as the reliability of measurement results has to be demonstrated to regulatory bodies responsible for maintaining effective nuclear safeguards. In order to address this issue, the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) in collaboration with the Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) has initiated a study to investigate the feasibility of preparing and characterising a uranium particle reference material for nuclear safeguards, which is finally certified for isotopic abundances and for the uranium mass per particle. Such control particles are specifically required to evaluate responses of instruments based on mass spectrometric detection (e.g. SIMS, TIMS, LAICPMS) and to help ensuring the reliability and comparability of measurement results worldwide. In this paper, a methodology is described which allows quantifying the uranium mass in single submicron particles by isotope dilution thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (IDTIMS). This methodology is characterized by substantial improvements recently achieved at IRMM in terms of sensitivity and measurement accuracy in the field of uranium particle analysis by TIMS. The use of monodisperse uranium oxide particles prepared using an aerosol generation technique developed at ITU, which is capable of producing particles of well-characterised size and isotopic composition was exploited. The evidence of a straightforward correlation between the particle volume and the mass of uranium was demonstrated in this study. Experimental results have shown that the uranium mass per particle can be measured via the IDTIMS method to a relative expanded uncertainty of about 10% (coverage factor k = 2). The availability of reliable and validated methods for the characterisation of uranium particles is considered to be essential for the establishment of SI-traceable measurement results. It is therefore expected that the method developed in this study is valuable for the certification of particulate materials in which the isotopic composition and the content of uranium must be accurately known.
JRC Directorate:Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

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