Gas source isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS)

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  • Sep, 2015

Brand, W.A., Douthitt, C.B., Fourel, F., Maia, R., Rodrigues, C., Maguas, C., Prohaska, T. (2015) Gas source isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). New Developments in Mass Spectrometry No. 3 Sector Field Mass Spectrometry for Elemental and Isotopic Analysis (ed. by T. Prohaska, J. Irrgeher, A. Zitek and N. Jakubowski), pp. 500-549. The Royal Society of Chemistry, London.


Gas source isotope ratio mass spectrometry is usually referred to as isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) or stable-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (SIRMS). IRMS is a conventional method for measuring isotope ratios and has benefited from more than 65 years of research and development. Modern mass spectrometers are all based on gas source isotope ratio mass spectrometry field mass separators. More recently, the development of high-resolution sector field devices has added a new dimension to IRMS. Modern instruments achieve a high sample throughput, which is a prerequisite, e.g., for ecosystem studies where usually a large number of samples needs to be analysed and high precision is required. IRMS is used specifically for the measurement of stable-isotope ratios of a limited number of elements (C, H, N, O and S) after transfer into a gaseous species. Si, Cl, Br and Se can be added to the list even though their applications are limited compared to the other isotope systems. A concise overview of the technical background is given here as well as numerous applications of this technique in earth and geosciences, paleoclimate research, cosmochemistry, environmental sciences and life sciences.!divabstract