Boron Isotope Analysis – Sample Types and Selection

The following recommendations are general guidelines. Individual sample size requirements largely vary based on the material and concentration of boron. Contact us for advice if you are concerned that your samples are too small.


DO NOT wrap samples in aluminum or any metal foil. Use weighing paper if you need to wrap them.

Use plastic vials. DO NOT send samples in a glass vial as it may contaminate your sample with excessive boron.

Submit samples in a ziplock bag or teflon container with PRINTED SAMPLE ID attached outside the bag.

Always choose the best samples for your research objectives

Our recommended sample sizes assume the material is dry and free of adhering matrix.

Please tap/click on a row to view the sample preparation instructions for each material.

Material Type Sample Size Recommended Container Other Isobar Services Available
Shells, Coral, Carbonates 200 mg
  • Ziplock bags
Sr Isotopes Analysis
U-Th Dating
For the best results, make sure your samples are clean and free from clay particles and other detritus. Do not leach samples with acid. Frequent sonication and rinsing with methanol may be utilized to remove clay particles and other detritus.

Homogenize your samples, preferably using an agate mortar and pestle, and transfer into plastic vials. Avoid using any types of glass vials. Homogenized samples will be dissolved in 0.45mol/L HNO3 and the pH of the solution will be adjusted to 7–8.
Soil 500 mg
  • Plastic or glass vials
    Put them inside a labeled Ziplock bag.
Lead Isotopes +
Samples need to be received in dry and homogenized form. For effective sample dissolution, high-temperature flux fusion is the method of choice. Homogenized samples will be fused at 1075°C with high-purity lithium metaborate (LiBO2, Puratronic) and ultra-pure grade lithium bromide to ensure complete recovery of the melt. The melt is directly digested in 6 M nitric acid. Extra charge will be applied for drying and homogenizing samples, please contact the lab.
Water 100 mL
  • Small-neck plastic bottle (HDPE, LDPE, PP)

    DO NOT use glass vials.
Lead Isotopes
Sr Isotopes Analysis
For boron analysis in water, use any type of small-neck plastic bottle (HDPE, LDPE, PP) to collect your sample. Rinse the bottle with the running sample water prior to collection. Do not add any chemicals to the water, do not acidify the water. Fill the bottle all the way to the top, you may leave a small space at the top (keep the neck of the bottle empty) to allow for any necessary expansion during shipment.

Please put the bottles inside a plastic bag and seal the bag with a zip-tie or duct tape. Clearly label both bottle and the plastic bag.

Note: Water samples will be screened for boron concentration prior to isotope dilution and extraction chromatography processes for purification and measurement. Only samples with a concentration of 10 ppb or greater will be selected for analysis. If a sample is considered not suitable for analysis, the client will only be charged for the screening.

Isobar Science also offers boron concentration measurements for an additional fee ONLY in conjunction with isotope measurements. Please consult the lab before submitting samples.