From measurements of Hf–Yb mixtures, we have found that the correction of isobaric interferences involving accepted Yb isotope ratios and reasonable estimates of mass bias result in a significantly under-corrected 176Hf, which is proportional to the amount of Yb added. This can be explained by (1) a significant difference in the instrumental mass bias between Hf and Yb, and (2) that the accepted values for isotopic ratios within the Yb and/or Hf systems are incorrect. We have evaluated these possibilities by measuring mixed solutions of Yb and Hf on two MC-ICP-MS instruments and undertaking a series of REE fractionation experiments using a thermal ionisation mass spectrometer (TIMS). Our results indicate that the presently accepted abundances of the Yb isotopes are not appropriate. We present new values for Yb isotopic abundances based on the TIMS and MC-ICP-MS results. Using the newly defined Yb values, we demonstrate that Yb and Hf have similar levels of mass bias in plasma ionisation instruments, and that Hf isotope ratios can be used to correct Yb mass bias before subsequent correction of isobaric interference. A laser ablation comparison of Yb and Hf indicates that similar relationships exist, and can be applied to micro-analytical techniques where chemical separation is not possible. \u
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