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Laser ablation coupled with ICP-MS applied to U-Pb zircon geochronology: A review of recent advances

Abstract : Improvements in the technology of laser ablation and ICP-MS instruments make LA-MC-ICPMS a rapid, precise and accurate method for U-Pb zircon geochronology. In this review we describe the main stages of the evolution of this in situ approach from the early 1990s to the present time. Some key points have been progressively improved. The crater size has been reduced to achieve real in situ measurements. The laser wavelength has been reduced as well as the duration of each pulse in order to lower inter-element fractionation. The blank from the gas has to be lowered as far as possible. Double focusing instruments and magnetic field sectors allow flat-topped peaks required for precise isotope ratio measurement to be obtained. The use of a multi-ion counting system significantly improves the sensitivity of the method and the static mode of integration favours the precision of measurement of the transient signal originating from a noisy laser ablated particle beam. Combining the use of a 213 nm UV laser and a MC-ICPMS equipped with a multi-ion counting system operating in static mode, the common precisions achieved for the key ratios 207Pb/206Pb and 206Pb/238U are better than 1% and 3% (2σ) respectively, including error propagation associated with standard normalization. Until now, the use of a zircon standard has remained necessary to ensure the accuracy of the calculated age. A strategy for common-Pb correction is proposed according to the age of the zircon and according to the Th/U ratio of the grains. After recording sixteen to twenty spot analyses the precision usually achieved on the age is about 1% and even significantly better for Proterozoic samples. In order to show the performance achieved by modern LA-MC-ICPMS geochronology, we tested four zircon samples covering a wide age range from 290 to 2440 Ma. These new age determinations can be compared in term of precision and accuracy since they have already been dated by reference methods (ID-TIMS and SHRIMP). Further developments in the technology of ion counters equipping modern MC-ICPMS and in laser systems will certainly be applied to a large field of geochronology studies in the near future as an alternative to SIMS for in situ age determination.
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https://hal-brgm.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00641667
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Soumis le : mercredi 16 novembre 2011 - 13:59:36
Dernière modification le : jeudi 9 avril 2015 - 15:16:09

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Alain Cocherie, Michele Robert. Laser ablation coupled with ICP-MS applied to U-Pb zircon geochronology: A review of recent advances. Gondwana Research, Elsevier, 2008, 14 (4), pp.597-608. ⟨10.1016/j.gr.2008.01.003⟩. ⟨hal-00641667⟩

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