Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 8:55 EDT

LGR Unveils World’s First Triple Isotope Analyzer for Water

February 21, 2012

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Los Gatos Research (LGR), the leader in precision trace gas analyzers, has introduced the world’s first triple isotope analyzer for direct simultaneous measurement of delta-17O, delta-18O, and delta-2H ratios in liquid water and water vapor samples. The IWA-46EP is capable of automated, continuous or batch operation, and delivers isotopic sensitivity and precision comparable to reference isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) laboratories. And, like other LGR EP-series analyzers, this new instrument incorporates proprietary thermal control, enabling accurate and precise measurements over a wide range of ambient temperatures (0 – 45 degrees C). Together with its rugged, compact packaging, this makes the IWA 46EP ideal for remote and even airborne operation, as well as for routine laboratory use.

Traditional water isotope analysis performed using IRMS technology requires extensive sample preparation and a skilled, experienced operator. Oxygen and hydrogen ratios are separately processed, with 17O being particularly cumbersome for IRMS. In contrast, the IWA-46EP measures all three isotopes simultaneously, directly from water-based samples, including seawater and bodily fluids. Moreover, the measurement process is automated, requiring minimal operator skill. And unlike IRMS, the IWA-46EP needs neither expensive consumables nor frequent calibration.

Applications for the IWA-46EP include atmospheric chemistry, hydrology, water cycle studies and medical diagnostics, where water isotopes can be used to determine metabolic efficiency and energy expenditure.

“We have been using a LGR isotope analyzer for several years to measure delta-18O and delta-2H ratios in waters from plant leaves and stems, as well as from soil,” states Tim Griffis, Assoc. Professor at the University of Minnesota. “We use these types of data in conjunction with isotopic CO2 data to investigate linkages between hydrology and the carbon cycle. The ability to simultaneously measure delta-17O could add important additional insights regarding atmospheric moisture sources since the oxygen-17 excess appears to be influenced by kinetic fractionation during evaporation and is sensitive to humidity conditions in the source region.”

LGR precision gas analyzers are based on the company’s patented Off-axis Integrated Cavity Output Spectroscopy (OA-ICOS) technology, a fourth generation, cavity-enhanced laser absorption technique. This unique approach is both more rugged and more precise than earlier cavity-enhanced techniques, such as conventional cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS), because the performance of OA-ICOS does not need ultra-precise alignment or sub nanometer stability of its optics, or a high degree of thermal control. This ensures higher absolute accuracy, longer maintenance intervals, higher reliability and reduced cost of ownership.

LGR (www.LGRinc.com) makes the world’s most precise, rugged and reliable instruments for measurements of trace gases and isotopes. LGR instruments have been deployed by scientists for acquiring the most accurate measurements possible on all seven continents, in unmanned aerial vehicles, in mobile laboratories, on research and commercial aircraft, and in undersea vehicles.

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Source: PR Newswire