Rapid decomposition of geological samples by ammonium bifluoride (NH4HF2) for combined Hf-Nd-Sr isotope analyses

Gábor Újvári*, Urs Klötzli, Monika Horschinegg, Wencke Wegner, Dorothee Hippler, Gabriella Ilona Kiss, László Palcsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: Complete decomposition of silicate rock matrices is crucial in determining their isotopic compositions, but acid dissolution in a high-pressure steel-jacketed bomb, which has been the only powerful, effective technique thus far, is time-consuming and expensive. Rock dissolution using ammonium bifluoride (ABF), as described here, is a viable alternative. Methods: Geological reference materials (GRMs) were digested using ABF in closed Teflon beakers at temperatures of 220/230°C in a convection oven and subsequently treated with HNO3. Hf-Sr-Nd were separated and purified using ion-exchange chemistry columns calibrated for 50–2 mg samples. The isotopic compositions of Sr-Nd were measured by Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry, while that of Hf by Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, both with normal 1011 Ω and gain calibrated 1013 Ω amplifiers. Results: Total procedural blanks of our protocol are 0.5 ng for Sr, 0.2 ng for Nd and <25 pg for Hf. Test runs with GRMs, ranging in composition from basic to felsic and dissolved in ABF, yield accurate 87Sr/86Sr, 143Nd/144Nd and 176Hf/177Hf isotope ratios as compared with those obtained with the bomb dissolution technique. Reproducibilities were comparable, on the order of 10–20 ppm. Our technique allows combined Hf-Sr-Nd isotope analyses of low-mass (50–2 mg) samples. Conclusions: The ABF digestion is an alternative technique to high-pressure bomb dissolution in matrix decomposition for accurate and reproducible Hf-Nd-Sr isotope analyses of geological samples within a reasonable time (3–4 days), with high sample throughput and low costs in geochemistry and environmental sciences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9081
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid decomposition of geological samples by ammonium bifluoride (NH4HF2) for combined Hf-Nd-Sr isotope analyses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this