Assessing rare earth elements in quartz rich geological samples

A Santoro, V Thoss, S Ribeiro Guevara, D Urgast, A Raab, S Mastrolitti, J Feldmann

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Sodium peroxide (Na2O2) fusion coupled to Inductively Coupled Plasma Tandem Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS/MS) measurements was used to rapidly screen quartz-rich geological samples for rare earth element (REE) content. The method accuracy was checked with a geological reference material and Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) measurements. The used mass-mode combinations presented accurate results (only exception being (157)Gd in He gas mode) with recovery of the geological reference material QLO-1 between 80% and 98% (lower values for Lu, Nd and Sm) and in general comparable to INAA measurements. Low limits of detection for all elements were achieved, generally below 10 pg g(-1), as well as measurement repeatability below 15%. Overall, the Na2O2/ICP-MS/MS method proved to be a suitable lab-based method to quickly and accurately screen rock samples originating from quartz-rich geological areas for rare earth element content; particularly useful if checking commercial viability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Radiation and Isotopes
Early online date31 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to acknowledge the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Institute for Sustainable Environments (WISE) Network for supporting the study. Ross Goodyear is also acknowledged for his contribution to sample preparation.


  • rare earth elements
  • ICP-MS
  • INAA
  • quartz
  • sodium peroxide


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