Three Si isotope materials have been used for an inter-laboratory comparison exercise to ensure reproducibility between international laboratories investigating natural Si isotope variations using a variety of chemical preparation methods and mass spectrometric techniques. These proposed standard reference materials are (i) IRMM-018 (a SiO2 standard), (ii) Big-Batch (a fractionated SiO2 material prepared at the University of California Santa Barbara), and (iii) Diatomite (a natural diatomite sample originally deposited as marine biogenic opal). All analyses are compared with the international Si standard NBS28 (RM8546) and are in reasonable agreement (<+/- 0.22 parts per thousand. 1 sigma(SD) delta Si-30) given the different measurement techniques involved. These methods include both acid and alkaline dissolution/fusion, Si separation using cation exchange, selective co-precipitation, and gas-source versus plasma-ionization (high and low resolution) mass-spectrometric techniques. The average delta Si-30 for Diatomite, IRMM-018, and Big-Batch are + 1.26 parts per thousand, -1.65 parts per thousand and -10.48 parts per thousand, respectively, with corresponding delta Si-9 values of + 0.64 parts per thousand, -0.85 parts per thousand and -5.35 parts per thousand for the same standards, respectively. For the most fractionated standard (Big-Batch), results demonstrate a kinetic mass-dependent fractionation effect for atomic Si (i.e., delta Si-29 similar to 0.51 x delta Si-30). There is almost no statistical difference between the mean values obtained by each participating laboratory, with the notable exception of the IRMM-018 standard. This effect could be caused by heterogeneity or contamination of this standard. The results for the other two standards indicate that data sets produced using any of the methods employed in this study will have similar precision and differences are limited to 0.2 parts per thousand in mean delta Si-30 values for a given sample between laboratories, or differences of 0.13 parts per thousand. in mean delta Si-29 values.
2007. Vol. 22, no 5, 561-568 p.