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Copper is an essential trace element for human health, being required for many physiological functions, such as oxygen transport, iron transport, cellular growth and hemostasis. In addition, copper is found in natural radioisotopes, including 63 and 65, used in cancer diagnosis, treatment and research.


Copper-metal 63 (d63Cu) isotope is produced naturally and is the most common stable isotope of the element copper. It is used in gamma photography, neutron spectrum measurements, high temperature superconductivity studies, and studies of copper metabolism.


Cu isotopes 63 and 65 are very similar, but 63Cu is lighter than 65Cu. The mass difference is primarily due to the polyatomic inferences of 47Ti16O+ and 46Ti16O1H+ on 63Cu and 49Ti16O+ and 48Ti16O1H+ on 65Cu.

d65Cu in biopsies from platinum treated patients

d65Cu levels were lower (p 0.05) in ovarian tissue samples from platinum-treated cancer patients than in the control group of healthy ovaries. The d65Cu of the healthy ovaries were -0.63 to 0.08, while those of the samples from the platinum-treated cancer patients were 0.06%0 to 0.008%0.

Effects of the medium acidity on d65Cu values

The pH of the sample solution can significantly affect the final d65Cu value. To evaluate this, the NWU-Cu-A standard solution and sample solutions were tested with varying HNO3 acidity, as shown in Figure 1.

d65Cu values measured with different molar ratios of matrix elements to Cu (0.01, 0.05, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8, 1, and 2) showed similar results to the reference NWU-Cu-A within 0.05%0 uncertainty intervals. However, the matrix effects of Ga on Cu isotope analysis were more pronounced in a case of Ga/Cu molar ratios higher than 1.0.

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