Carbon Isotope Analyzer

The G2131-i Isotopic Carbon Analyzer from Picarro (Santa Clara, CA) will enable a range of new scientific applications to better resolve CO2 dynamics in the atmosphere, plant respiration, and the ocean. The carbon isotope analyzer is designed for deployment in the harshest environments.

The G2131-i has a performance specification of 0.1 per mil precision for 13C/12C ratio measurements in CO2 in a five minute measurement and 0.5 per mil or less drift over 24 hours.

Different isotopes of an element have the same chemical characteristics but 13C is heavier than 12C because it has an additional neutron in its atomic nucleus. Where 12C and 13C follow identical reaction pathways, they proceed at different rates in nature with 13C often reacting more slowly than 12C. As a result, the 13C/12C ratio in CO2 depends on the biochemical or geochemical reaction pathways. Precisely measuring these ratios enables researchers to understand the microscopic mechanisms that create and use CO2.

The analyzer underwent rigorous shock and vibration testing that conforms with military specification. The stability and ruggedness enables researchers make high precision measurements of the carbon isotopic ratios to reveal details about the biological and geological mechanisms that produce and consume CO2.


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