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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2012 Dec 30;26(24):2837-53. doi: 10.1002/rcm.6436.

Pressure baseline correction and high-precision CO2 clumped-isotope (∆47) measurements in bellows and micro-volume modes.

Author information

1
The Department of The Geophysical Sciences, The University of Chicago, 5734 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL 60637, USA.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

CO(2) 'clumped-isotope' measurements (tracking enrichment of (16)O(13)C(18)O, reported as ∆(47) values, on CO(2) derived from carbonate minerals or the atmosphere) are becoming central to a wide range of geochemical investigations. We present a novel approach to address problems with instrument stability, external precision, and the analysis of small samples that have hampered the advancement of Δ(47) measurements.

METHODS:

We measured Δ(47) values on CO(2) gases introduced via dual inlet to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. We developed a method for determining the 'pressure baseline' and integrating a correction to ion beam intensity measurements during analysis. We then tested this approach for both bellows and micro-volume modes of sample introduction. Heated gas and equilibrated gas lines (Δ(47) vs. δ(47)) established the effectiveness of this correction.

RESULTS:

We have determined that drift in instrument calibration that compromises Δ(47) measurements results from a shift in the baseline signal on sensitive collectors (m/z 47, 48, and 49) that occurs when gas is admitted to the ion source. Applying a 'pressure baseline' (PBL) correction significantly stabilizes ∆(47) measurements and reduces the dependence of ∆(47) values on δ(47) values by up to an order of magnitude.

CONCLUSIONS:

PBL-corrected heated gas and equilibrated gas calibrations in bellows and micro-volume modes are nearly identical and stable through time. Introduction of the PBL correction, a revision to the absolute reference frame approach to determining Δ(47) values, dramatically improves the external precision of Δ(47) measurements to near instrumental analytical uncertainty (6-8 ppm (1σ) in bellows mode; 10-12 ppm in micro-volume mode).

PMID:
23136015
DOI:
10.1002/rcm.6436

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