Rapid 90Sr Determination Using Laser Ablation ICP-QQQ-MS, 1.9.2021-31.8.2023, Marko Štrok


IAEA-TERC-2023-01/02 World Wide Open & ALMERA Proficiency Test Exercise


Agilent 8900 triple quadrupole ICP-MS was used for the first time in a proficiency test for 90Sr analysis, a field that is typically dominated by radiometric methods.

The main research goal of the STROMASS MSCI project was to develop a new analytical method, that can produce reliable results in a short time with less sample intake than the previous methods of analysis of Sr-90, which is one of the most prominent fission products and great concern during nuclear accidents. The analysis of the artificial Sr-90 is important because of easy uptake and prolonged retention by the human body due to its similarity to calcium. Consequently, Sr-90 analysis has great relevance in environmental monitoring, bio-assay, dose estimation, and radioactive waste characterization.

The classic radiometric method has limitations when rapid Sr-90 analysis is needed, which are related to relatively long measurement time, higher sample amount requirements and low sample throughput. The mass spectrometry method can solve this challenge due to new developments in interference removal techniques and detection systems. In this project, a high-speed (< 2 hours) Sr-90 determination was realized on a low amount of samples (< 1 g) using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry equipped with triple quadrupole (ICP-QQQ-MS). 

The result of this project provides a considerable advance in the field of radionuclide analysis of environmental, food, biological and radioactive waste samples and redefines the measurement capability of mass spectrometry instruments. This innovative method will also open new opportunities for other radionuclides’ analyses, such as Ra, Am, U, Pu, I, Cs isotopes. Moreover, the new method can accelerate the decision-making process during a nuclear accident which can help minimize the health risk to the population and increase societal trust towards government measures.

 European Commission logo

Project Number: 101003359

Project Acronym: STROMASS

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Figure 1. Estimated minimum detectable activity concentration (MDAC) of 90Sr analysis for 2.1×10−11 abundance sensitivity in different samples using mass spectrometry (MS) method


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Figure 2. High mass peak tail from Sr-88 under the Sr-90 peak


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Figure 3. Separation procedure for 90Sr determination using mass spectrometry (MS) method


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Picture 1. Visitors from the Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan (TMU)

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Picture 2. Scientific presentation to the public (Slovenia)


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Picture 3. Scientific presentation to the public (Hungary)