A review on the determination of isotope ratios of boron with mass spectrometry

Suresh Kumar Aggarwal, Chen-Feng You

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The present review discusses different mass spectrometric techniques—viz, thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS), and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS)—used to determine 11B/10B isotope ratio, and concentration of boron required for various applications in earth sciences, marine geochemistry, nuclear technology, environmental, and agriculture sciences, etc. The details of the techniques-P-TIMS, which uses Cs2BO2 +, N-TIMS, which uses BO2 , and MC-ICPMS, which uses B+ ions for bulk analysis or B and B+ ions for in situ micro-analysis with SIMS—are highlighted. The capabilities, advantages, limitations, and problems in each mass spectrometric technique are summarized. The results of international interlaboratory comparison experiments conducted at different times are summarized. The certified isotopic reference materials available for boron are also listed. Recent developments in laser ablation (LA) ICPMS and QQQ-ICPMS for solids analysis and MS/MS analysis, respectively, are included. The different aspects of sample preparation and analytical chemistry of boron are summarized. Finally, the future requirements of boron isotope ratios for future applications are also given. Presently, MC-ICPMS provides the best precision and accuracy (0.2–0.4‰) on isotope ratio measurements, whereas N-TIMS holds the potential to analyze smallest amount of boron, but has the issue of bias (+2‰ to 4‰) which needs further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-519
Number of pages21
JournalMass Spectrometry Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Spectroscopy


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