In addition to applied research and methods development, the Air Group is committed to develop and distribute a wide range of reference materials for LA-ICP-MS.

Several reference materials have been developed and distributed to a number of overseas LA-ICP-MS laboratories. These were investigated in collaboration with our partners in Europe (Fernando Corfu, Axel Gerdes, Micheal Widenebeck, Craig Storey, Daniela Rubato), South Africa (Ian Buick) and Canada (Sandra Kamo). These include:

BB Zircon:

The BB zircon comes from a batch of Sri Lanka megacrysts (0.5–1.5 cm3) obtained by Prof Ricardo Scholz. Within‐grain rare earth element (REE) compositions for these zircons are largely homogeneous, albeit with some variation seen between fractured and homogeneous domains. Excluding fractured cathodoluminescence bright domains, the variation in U content for all analysed crystals ranged from 227 to 368 μg g−1 and the average Th/U ratios were between 0.20 and 0.47. The Hf isotope composition (0.56–0.84 g/100 g Hf) is homogeneous within and between the grains – mean 176Hf/177Hf of 0.281674 ± 0.000018 (2s). The calculated alpha dose of 0.59 × 1018 g−1 for a number of BB grains falls within the trend of previously studied, untreated zircon samples from Sri Lanka. Aliquots of the same crystal (analysed by ID‐TIMS in four different laboratories) gave consistent U‐Pb ages with excellent measurement reproducibility (0.1–0.4% RSD). Interlaboratory assessment (by LA‐ICP‐MS) from individual crystals returned results that are within uncertainty equivalent to the TIMS ages. Finally, we report on within‐ and between‐grain homogeneity of the oxygen isotope systematic of four BB crystals (13.16‰ VSMOW).

Low Th Diamantina Monazite:

Most monazite reference materials (RMs) for in situ U‐Pb geochronology are rich in Th; however, many hydrothermal ore deposits contain monazite that is low in trace element contents, including Th, U and Pb. Because of potential problems with matrix effects and the lack of appropriate matrix‐matched RMs, such variations can bias dating of hydrothermal deposits. In this paper, we describe a polycrystalline low‐U and low‐Th Diamantina monazite from the Espinhaço Range, SE Brazil. It has a U‐Pb ID‐TIMS weighted mean 207Pb*/235U ratio of 0.62913 ± 0.00079, 206Pb*/238U of 0.079861 ± 0.000088 and 207Pb*/206Pb* of 0.057130 ± 0.000031, yielding a weighted mean 206Pb*/238U date of 495.26 ± 0.54 Ma (95% c.l.). In situ dates acquired with different methods (LA‐(Q, SF, MC)‐ICP‐MS and SIMS) are within uncertainty of the ID‐TIMS data. U‐Pb LA‐(Q, MC)‐ICP‐MS runs, using Diamantina as a primary RM, reproduced the ages of other established RMs within < 1% deviation. The LA‐MC‐ICP‐MS analyses yielded homogeneous Sm‐Nd isotopic compositions (143Nd/144Nd = 0.511427 ± 23, 2s147Sm/144Nd = 0.1177 ± 13, 2s) and εNd(495 Ma) of −18.7 ± 0.5 (2s). SIMS oxygen isotope determinations showed measurement reproducibility better than ± 0.3‰ (2s), confirming Diamantina’s relative homogeneity at test portion masses below 1 ng.

High Th Bananeiro Monazite:

Monazite from the largest pegmatite bodies in the district (the Bananeira, Coqueiro and Paraíso pegmatites) are Ce-monazite, with negligible amounts of the huttonite and brabantite components. They are homogeneous in major and trace elements, which makes them potential candidates as compositional reference materials. U–Pb LA-ICP-MS and ID-TIMS analyses yielded identical ages within error. Although the ID-TIMS ages (507.7 ± 1.3 (207Pb⁎/
235U) and 513.6 ± 1.2 Ma (206Pb⁎/ 238U)) were reversely discordant, spot ages determined by LA-ICP-MS geochronology were concordant at ca 508 Ma. The Bananeiro monazite was assessed as a LA-ICPMS U–Pb primary reference material against other known reference materials (treated as unknowns). This approach successfully reproduced the previously published ages of the reference materials. MREE/HREE fractionation (ie, (La/Gd)N and (Gd/Lu)N values), Eu/Eu⁎ and the chondrite-normalized REE patterns suggest that the “Itambé” monazite aliquot is very similar to that from the Coqueiro pegmatite. This similarity is likewise apparent in their Sm–Nd isotope compositions. Moreover, the εNdi values of the “Itambé” monazite fragment
(εNdi = −4.2) and those from all the major pegmatites in the district, are distinct from other reference materials (eg, Managountry; εNdi = −22.3) as well as gem-quality monazite from c. 490–520 Ma pegmatites from the
Araçuaí Orogen, further to the south. The εNdi can provide a further distinction for tracing Brazillian gem-quality monazite reference materials.

Datas xenotime:

Five megacrysts of xenotime (XN01, XN02, XN03, XN04, and XN05) as
potential reference materials (RMs) for U-Pb geochronology. These crystals belong to a 300-g xenotime assortment, collected from alluvial deposits in SE Brazil. Electron microprobe and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analyses show that the selected crystals are internally homogeneous for most rare earth element, (REE, except some light REE) but are relatively heterogeneous for U and Th. The xenotime REE patterns are consistent with an origin from hydrothermal quartz veins that cut greenschist-facies metasediments and that locally contain other accessory phases such as rutile and monazite. High-precision U-Pb Isotope Dilution-Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (ID-TIMS) analyses showed slight age heterogeneity for the XN01 crystal not observed in the XN02 sample. The two crystals have slightly different average 206Pb/238U ages of 513.4 ± 0.5 Ma (2 s) and 515.4 ± 0.2 Ma (2 s),
respectively. In situ U-Pb isotope data acquired via LA-(Q,SF,MC)-ICP-MS are within the uncertainty of the ID-TIMS data, showing homogeneity at the 1% precision of the laser ablation (and probably ion microprobe) technique. U-Pb LA-(MC, SF)-ICP-MS analyses, using XN01 as a primary RM, reproduced the ages of other established RMs within less than 1% deviation. Other Datas crystals (XN03-05) also display a reproducibility in Pb/U dates better than 1% on LA-ICP-MS, making them good candidates for further testing by ID-TIMS.