Thermo Fisher Scientific

New Innovations at AGU 2015 Extend the Boundaries of Isotope Analysis for Geosciences Research


Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific

Scientists engaged in climate research, biochemistry, forensics and oil/gas exploration can now analyze the isotopic anatomy of molecules using a new high-resolution isotope ratio mass spectrometer. It enables scientists to access the direct conditions under which molecules were formed, transported, stored and degraded. Thermo Fisher Scientific will showcase this and other solutions this week at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2015 Fall Meeting, Moscone Convention Center, December 14-18, 2015, Booth #429.

“For more than 60 years, Thermo Fisher has been the leading supplier of isotope ratio analytical instrumentation to scientists throughout the world,” said Andreas Hilkert, senior manager, product marketing inorganic mass spectrometry at Thermo Fisher. “Our products have enabled many pioneering discoveries with isotopic measurement for geochemical applications, including climate change research.”

The new Thermo Scientific 253 Ultra High Resolution Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (HR-IRMS) is designed to optimize the measurement of site-specific and clumped-isotope-ratio analysis of molecules. This lets scientists analyze new parameters including the formation temperatures of molecules, degradation processes of molecules, biochemical processes of nitrous oxide, photochemical processes in the atmosphere and metabolic processes in biochemistry.

Dr. John Eiler, Robert P. Sharp professor of geology and professor of geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, performs research in the fields of earth and planetary sciences and has been using the 253 Ultra HR-IRMS to expand his research by exploring the sources and geochemical histories of methane, ethane, propane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and chemical moities of large molecules, such as lignins. “The 253 Ultra HR-IRMS is a tool for exploring the isotopic anatomy of volatile molecules,” said Eiler. “Its analytical power, flexibility of configuration and great ranges in target mass and abundance make it an ideal platform for exploring this new world of molecular isotopic structures.”

Other AGU product highlights include:

  • The new Thermo Scientific 253 Plus 10kV Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer that is designed for high-performance isotope ratio mass spectrometry with innovations in sample utilization, stability and background signal-to-noise, resulting in enhanced precision on even the smallest sample sizes.

    Dr. Stefano Bernasconi, professor at ETH Zürich, focuses his research on the study of climate change and biogeochemical processes in terrestrial and marine environments as well as the development of novel analytical techniques for solving earth science questions. “The 253 Plus 10 kV IRMS collector is an important tool in our work with clumped isotope measurements,” said Bernasconi. “The pressure baseline is negligible and the online baseline monitoring allows for quality control and second order corrections if required.”
  • The new 1013 ohm amplifier technology is designed to increase the speed, sensitivity and precision of isotope mass spectrometers. It features a new resistor design for fast response times, low noise/signal characteristics and improved internal precision for small signals. These enhancements are designed for applications ranging from age dating (zircon geochronology) and analyses of dust in ice cores, inclusions in diamonds, extraterrestrial material components, and materials with ultra-low concentrations of isotopes of interest to studies of isotopic variability on a small spatial scale, such as growth zones in minerals, teeth or hairs.
  • The new Thermo Scientific Delta Ray Isotope Ratio Infrared Spectrometer (IRIS) with URI Connect, whichextends the continuous measurements of isotope ratios and concentrations of CO2 in ambient air by delivering both18O and 13C isotope ratios as well as concentrations of CO2 in air from discrete samples such as head space analysis or direct injection of small amounts of CO2. Designed for field portability and operational simplicity, it enables scientists to collect data 24x7 in the field and measure short duration phenomena that may have been missed previously due to the low-frequency sample acquisition.
  • The new Thermo Scientific Delta Ray IRIS, which is a field-deployable instrument used by scientists for a range of research including greenhouse gas monitoring, ecology and plant science, volcano monitoring, carbon storage, and sequestration. It enables simultaneous determination of concentration, δ13C and δ18Ο of CO2 at ambient concentrations. The Thermo Fisher booth will feature real-time demonstrations using the instrument.

Leading scientists will present papers and posters on current research, including:

  • Multi-day, real-time measurements of CO2 concentration, CO2/SO2 ratios, and 13C of CO2 in volcanic plume, presented by H.J Jost (Thermo Fisher co-authors: Andrea Luca Rizzo, Marco Liuzzo and Marie-Anne Ancellin), Monday, December 14 from 8-8:15 a.m., Moscone South, 308.
  • On-site isotopic analysis of dissolved inorganic carbon using an isotope ratio infrared spectrometer,presented by Tim Stoltmann (Thermo Fisher co-authors: Tim Stoltmann, H.J. Jost, Nils Stöbener, Eric Wapelhorst, Magda Mandic, Rebecca Aepfler, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, Heidi Taubner and, Marcus Elvert), Thursday, Dec. 17 from 1:40-6 p.m., Moscone South - Poster Hall.
  • Developments in high-resolution gas source isotope ratio mass spectrometers, presented by Matthieu Clog (Thermo Fisher co-authors: Robert Ellam, Andreas Hilkert, Johannes Schwieters and Doug Hamilton), Tuesday, Dec. 15 from 8 a.m.- 12:20 p.m.
  • High-precision IDTIMS zircon U-Pb geochronology using new 1013 Ohm resistors, presented by Albrecht Von Quadt (Thermo Fisher co-authors: Yannick Buret, Simon Large Irena Peytcheva, Anne Trinquier and Joern-Frederick Wotzlaw), Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 10:20-10:33 a.m., Moscone South, 308.

For more information about Thermo Fisher’s participation at AGU 2015, please visit

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