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Posted: August 18, 2008
Picarro Launches Liquid Water Isotope Analyzer with Unmatched Sensitivity and Simplicity
(Nanowerk News) The new Picarro L1102-i water isotope analyzer is the first instrument to combine simple, turnkey operation with the sensitivity and precision (δ18O < 0.1%, δD <0.5%) better than or equal to the IRMS (isotope ratio mass spectrometer) systems traditionally used in stable isotope labs. Moreover, this integrated, compact instrument provides simultaneous measurement of both delta-18O and delta-D, directly from water samples, whereas IRMS requires either different chemical processes to separately measure these two ratios, or two different mass spectrometers. 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 because it has minimal memory and drift.
The heart of the Picarro L1102-i is the same WS-CRDS (wavelength-scanned cavity ring down spectroscopy) engine that is already field-proven in the company's CO2 and water vapor isotope analyzers. This new liquid water analyzer is equipped with a robust integrated robotic autosampler and vaporization accessory, which enables many samples to be analyzed in a single automated, hands-free sequence.
Michael Woelk, Picarro CEO explains, "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. We believe the advent of turn-key, cost-effective instruments that require no special training or sample handling is going to completely revolutionize this field, and more importantly, significantly expand the number of practical applications for stable isotope measurements."
The Picarro L1102-i has been extensively beta-tested at several labs specializing in stable isotope studies, including the Stable Isotope Lab at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado. Senior Scientist Bruce Vaughn at this lab notes, "Based on its performance in our laboratory, I truly feel this new instrument has the potential to transform the way the analytical world measures water isotopes."
Picarro, Inc. is a privately held company dedicated to developing instrumentation for the precise measurement and identification of specific molecules of interest to environmental and atmospheric scientists, geophysicists, and others monitoring the effects of global warming and change. The company is a leader in cavity ring down spectroscopy (CRDS) technology with eight exclusive licenses to Stanford University patents and nine of its own on CRDS extensions.