New Analyzer First to Directly Measure 18O and Site-Specific 15N in Atmospheric Nitrous Oxide
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Los Gatos Research (LGR), the leader in precision trace gas analyzers, has released a new Isotopic N2O Analyzer that is the first instrument to directly measure 18O and site-specific 15N ratios in trace nitrous oxide (N2O) in air, in addition to measuring the N2O mole fraction. Site-specific 15N refers to the ability to measure delta-15N ratios for both the alpha (delta-15N-alpha) and beta sites (delta-15N-beta) within the nitrous oxide molecule, i.e., 14N-15N-16O and 15N-14N-16O. Even the traditional and cumbersome method of obtaining stable isotope ratios – isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) on captured samples in the lab – cannot easily make this subtle but important distinction. And unlike IRMS, LGR’s new analyzer is self-contained, portable, uses no consumables, does not require sample pre-concentration, and does not need a highly skilled operator. Moreover, the LGR Isotopic N2O Analyzer is the only instrument that can record data in continuously flowing air samples and measure discrete volume samples via syringe injection. Capable of long periods of unmanned operation in remote locations, LGR’s Isotopic N2O Analyzer delivers precision and sensitivity that are similar to IRMS, but without all the difficulties.
Nitrous oxide, an important greenhouse gas, is a product of the nitrogen cycle and can be produced by combustion of biofuels. Measuring trace N2O concentrations and their isotopic signatures will help scientists better understand manmade influences on the environment, climate change and the nitrogen cycle, including the influence of nitrate runoff from intensified agricultural activity.
Professor Jeffrey McDonnell at Oregon State University states, “Stable isotope ratios are extremely valuable as source/origin trackers. We have been using a LGR isotopic water analyzer for some time in our water cycle studies to perform in situ high-frequency measurements on rainfall and streamflow at remote locations. The ability to now extend this type of portable turn-key measurement to nitrous oxide will undoubtedly deliver new and important insights into the nitrogen cycle.”
LGR precision gas and isotope 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. This ensures the highest absolute accuracy and linearity, longer maintenance intervals, higher reliability and significantly 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 Los Gatos Research