Gas analysis equipment provider Picarro has launched its L1102-i water isotope analyser, the first instrument to combine simple turnkey operation with the sensitivity and precision equal to traditional isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) systems.

In addition to requiring no special training or setup, the Picarro L1102-i is fully automated for running large sample batches, requires little or no sample preparation, provides data in minutes and does not need frequent calibration.

Moreover, the integrated, compact instrument provides simultaneous measurement of both δ18O and δD, directly from water samples - whereas IRMS requires either different chemical processes to separately measure these two ratios, or two different mass spectrometers.

Michael Woelk, Picarro CEO explained, “Recognition of the utility of stable-isotope studies now spans applications as diverse as carbon/water cycle environmental studies, animal migration tracking, and human metabolic pathway research. Full exploitation of this potential requires easy and fast access to high quality isotope ratio data, but has been limited by the high cost and practical constraints of existing mass-spectrometry tools.”

At the heart of the new L1102-i product is the same WS-CRDS (wavelength-scanned cavity ring down spectroscopy) engine that is already field-proven in the company’s CO2 and water vapour isotope analysers.