Determination of osmium concentrations and (187)Os/(188)Os of crude oils and source rocks by coupling high-pressure, high-temperature digestion with sparging OsO(4) into a multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. Academic Article uri icon


  • The (187)Os/(188)Os ratio that is based on the ?(-)-decay of (187)Re to (187)Os (t1/2 = 41.6 billion years) is widely used to investigate petroleum system processes. Despite its broad applicability to studies of hydrocarbon deposits worldwide, a suitable matrix-matched reference material for Os analysis does not exist. In this study, a method that enables Os isotope measurement of crude oil with in-line Os separation and purification from the sample matrix is proposed. The method to analyze Os concentration and (187)Os/(187)Os involves sample digestion under high pressure and high temperature using a high pressure asher (HPA-S, Anton Paar), sparging of volatile osmium tetroxide from the sample solution, and measurements using multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS). This methods significantly reduced the total procedural time compared to conventional Carius tube digestion followed by Os separation and purification using solvent extraction, microdistillation and N-TIMS analysis. The method yields Os concentration (28 ± 4 pg g(-1)) and (187)Os/(188)Os (1.62 ± 0.15) of commercially available crude oil reference material NIST 8505 (1 S.D., n = 6). The reference material NIST 8505 is homogeneous with respect to Os concentration at a test portion size of 0.2 g. Therefore, (187)Os/(188)Os composition and Os concentration of NIST 8505 can serve as a matrix-matched reference material for Os analysis. Data quality was assessed by repeated measurements of the USGS shale reference material SCo-1 (sample matrix similar to petroleum source rock) and the widely used Liquid Os Standard solution (LOsSt). The within-laboratory reproducibility of (187)Os/(188)Os for a 5 pg of LOsSt solution, analyzed with this method over a period of 12 months was ?1.4% (1 S.D., n = 26), respectively.

publication date

  • March 18, 2014