Journal Highlight: Microfluidic sample preparation for elemental analysis in liquid samples using micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry

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  • Published: Dec 15, 2014
  • Author: separationsNOW
  • Channels: Sample Preparation
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Microfluidic sample preparation for elemental analysis in liquid samples using micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry
The suitability of a sample presentation method for small volumes of liquid contained in an XRF-compatible device using a novel prototype chip was compared with that of a commercially produced microfluidic device.

Microfluidic sample preparation for elemental analysis in liquid samples using micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry

X-Ray Spectrometry, 2014, 43, 332-337
Kathryn G. McIntosh, J. Avery Neal, Pulak Nath and George J. Havrilla

Abstract: The integration of microfluidic devices with micro X-ray fluorescence (micro-XRF) spectrometry offers a new approach for the direct characterization of liquid materials. A sample presentation method based on use of small volumes (<5 µl) of liquid contained in an XRF-compatible device has been developed. In this feasibility study, a prototype chip was constructed, and its suitability for XRF analysis of liquids was evaluated, along with that of a commercially produced microfluidic device. Each of the chips had an analytical chamber which contained approximately 1 µl of sample when the device was filled using a pipette. The performance of the chips was assessed using micro-XRF and high resolution monochromatic wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence, a method that provides highly selective and sensitive detection of actinides. The intended application of the device developed in this study is for measurement of Pu in spent nuclear fuel. Aqueous solutions and a synthetic spent fuel matrix were used to evaluate the devices. Sr, which has its Kα line energy close to the Pu Lα line at 14.2 keV, was utilized as a surrogate for Pu because of reduced handling risks. Between and within chip repeatability were studied, along with linearity of response and accuracy. The limit of detection for Sr determination in the chip is estimated at 5 ng/µl (ppm). This work demonstrates the applicability of microfluidic sample preparation to liquid characterization by XRF, and provides a basis for further development of this approach for elemental analysis within a range of sample types.

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