Isotope Dilution

Meaning, Term, and Glossary Definition - What is Isotope Dilution?

Isotopic dilution is a technique to increase the precision and accuracy of chemical analysis. First, a known amount of an isotope is added to the sample. For example, to determine the amount of lead in a sample, a known amount of Pb-204, one of the isotopes of lead, can be added. The natural abundance of lead isotopes is 204 (1.4%), 206 (24.1%), 207 (22.1%), and 208 (52.4%). The isotopic composition of the sample will be slightly changed. Then, by measuring each isotope, the amount of lead in the original sample can be calculated. In a typical gas chromatography analysis, isotopic dilution can decrease the error of injection from 5% to 1%. It can also be used in mass spectrometry (commonly referred to as isotopic dilution mass spectrometry or IDMS), in which the isotopic ratio can be determined with precision typically better than 0.25%

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Related glossary terms:

Dilution Ratio   Isotope   Radioisotopes   
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