Improving the separation of strontium and barium with Sr Resin using chelating eluent solutions

Alicia Surrao, Skyler W. Smith, Emma Foerster, Henry B. Spitz, Donald G. Graczyk, Julio A. Landero-Figueroa, Derek R. McLain, William B. Connick, Jennifer L. Steeb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Age dating radioactive 137 Cs and 90 Sr sources, which are a potential concern in radiation dispersal devices, can provide evidence for attribution in a nuclear forensic investigation. Precise measurement of the 137 Cs– 137 Ba or 90 Sr– 90 Zr isotope ratio by ICP-MS in tandem with non-linearity and mass-bias data manipulation dramatically increases precision and decreases uncertainty, leaving inadequate chemical separation efficiencies as a major contributor—and in some cases the lead contributor—to uncertainty in age determination. To improve the separation of these isobars before ICP-MS analysis, we evaluated eluents containing EDTA and DTPA chelating agents against previously studied eluents for their ability to achieve complete removal of Sr and Ba from Eichrom Technologies’ Sr Resin. Barium separation efficiencies using 0.05 M EDTA, pH-adjusted 0.05 M EDTA, and pH-adjusted 0.05 M DTPA were found to be 100.9 ± 2.2%, 99.4 ± 0.8%, and 99.3 ± 1.2%, respectively. Strontium separation efficiencies using 0.05 M disodium EDTA and 0.05 M potassium EDTA were determined to be 100.14 ± 0.53% and 100.19 ± 0.97% respectively. These results demonstrate that eluents containing chelating agents out-perform previously studied eluent solutions at removing barium and strontium from Sr Resin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Age dating
  • Ba
  • Cs
  • EDTA
  • Extraction chromatography
  • Nuclear forensics
  • Radiation dispersal devices
  • Sr


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