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Preconcentration and atomic spectrometric determination of rare earth elements (REEs) in natural water samples by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry
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The usage of a variety of sorbents has been shown as promising matrix removal/preconcentration strategies for the determination of rare earth elements (REEs) in various natural water samples by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES). The sorption efficiency of various zeolites (clinoptilolite, mordenite, zeolite Y, zeolite Beta), ion-exchangers (Amberlite CG-120, Amberlite IR-120, Rexyn 101, Dowex 50W X18) and chelating resins (Muromac, Chelex 100, Amberlite IRC-718) towards REEs was investigated in terms of solution pH, shaking time and sorbent amount. The results have shown that most of the materials can take up REEs at a wide pH range. The experiments were continued with clinoptilolite, zeolite Y and Chelex 100 and it was demonstrated that all three materials displayed very fast kinetics for REE sorption (higher than 96% in 1 min). Desorption from the sorbents was realized with 2.0 M HNO3 for clinoptilolite and 0.1 M HNO3 for zeolite Y and Chelex 100. Only the lower concentration range (0.01–2.0 mg l−1) of matrix-matched standards were used in quantitation although the calibration graphs were linear at least up to 10.0 mg l−1 for all REEs studied. The limit of detection (3 s) without preconcentration was 0.1, 1.0, and 0.2 μg l−1 for Eu, La, and Yb, respectively. The validity of the method with the selected sorbents was checked through spike recovery experiments.