Geobiology Isotope Laboratory

For more information, contact Professor Ulrich Wortmann.

We routinely analyze the following substances:

  • Solids: Bulk analysis of solids (and some fluids) for δ13C, δ15N, δ34S via thermal decomposition, including soil and rock samples, organic substances, and inorganic substances like sulfates, nitrates, or sulfides. Using our high temperature pyrolysis system, we also routinely measure δ18O on nitrates, sulfates, and silicates. These measurements typically requires 10 to 20 mug of e.g. N or C. The achievable precision depends on the actual material. Typical σ-values range from 0.1 to 0.4 per mil.
  • Gases: Our mass spectrometer is equipped with a 6 cup collector, enabling us to measure the isotopic composition of the following gas-species:  CO2, CO, SO2, O2, N2, SF6,
  • Extractions and TC/TOC determinations: Upon request, we perform sulfur extraction and conversion to BaSO4 and Ag2S. We also perform total carbon (TC) and total organic carbon (TOC) determinations, on samples with less than 20wt% CaCO3 content. Please contact Professor Ulrich Wortmann for a quote.

The following table gives an indication of our pricing. Note however that certain conditions may apply (e.g., internal and NSERC pricing), and that it is assumed that the samples are delivered in a format suitable for measurement (e.g., already ground up and dried, etc.) Please contact us to inquire about the specific requirements:

Material Isotope Method Academic Collaborative Academic Non-Collaborative Commercial
Bulk Solids δ13C & δ15N EA-IRMS $55 $75 $105
Sulfates & Sulfides δ34S EA-IRMS $55 $60 $75
Carbonates δ18O & δ13C Gasbench-IRMS $30 $45 $55
Water δ18O Gasbench-IRMS $30 $45 $55
Sulfates & Nitrates δ18O TCEA-IRMS $65 $75 $150
Sample Preparation Solids     $25 $40 $60


We currently have the following equipment housed in our lab:

a science lab with a variety of machines and tubing

We currently operate a Finnigan MAT 253, equipped with a Finnigan Conflo-III, a dual-inlet system, and a manifold serving 10 manual breakers. Our inlet systems include a Eurovector Elemental Analyzer, a Hekatech high temperature pyrolysis furnace,and a Finnigan Gas Bench with two cryo-concentrators.

a close view of a large scientific mass spectrometer instrument

The Thermo-Finnigan MAT253 gas source isotope ratio monitoring mass spectrometer. The Conflo III is visible on the far left, followed by the ion-source housing, deflection magnet and the detectors (using a 6 cup configuration). The dual inlet system is visible on the front cover, and the manifold stubs on the top cover.

red pressurized gas tanks in a lab  next to two instruments on a green cabinet and a variety of plastic and metal tubing connections

The high temperature pyrolysis system. On the left the power supply, and on the right the furnace. Samples are introduced through the autosampler on top. This system is used for oxygen isotope work on solids and µl amounts of fluids.

a machine on a lab bench with tubes and dials

The Eurovector Elemental Analyzer. This system is used to determine the CNS contents and isotopic ratios of solid samples. The grey box on the left is the switchover valve controlling which system feeds into the mass-spec.

a n instrument with dials nesr the bottom next to a blue cylinder shaped object with tubing connected to it in a lab

Gas Bench

a lab counter top with digital weighing equipment, a variety of test tubes, papers and pens

Weighing Station