This set of instruments allow us to perform stable isotope analysis for many different types of substances – organic matter, carbonates, gases and individual organic compounds. Essentially, it is an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) with different preparation systems that each provide the analyte in a stream of helium gas, hence continuous flow.
- Gas Chromatograph (GC) for organic hydrocarbons (13C,2H,15N,18O). The GC has a combustion furnace and a pyrolysis furnace that convert the compounds that have been separated by the GC into carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen or nitrogen gas. These gases can be analysed for their isotopic compositions when delivered to the mass spectrometer in the helium stream.
- Elemental Analyzer (EA) for solid organics (13C,15N). The EA is essentially a combustion device that converts organic matter to carbon dioxide and strips out unwanted products, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and water. The carbon dioxide is then delivered for the mass spectrometer for isotopic analysis of its carbon isotopes.
- Gas Bench for water and carbonates (13C,2H,18O). The gas bench is a versatile peripheral device that enables us to obtain carbon dioxide for carbon and oxygen isotope analyses by acidification of carbonate minerals or stripping the gas from water. The oxygen of water can also be equilibrated with a small amount of carbon dioxide, which is subsequently delivered to the MS and gives the oxygen isotopic composition of the water sample.