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iso FLOW GHG greenhouse gas analyzer for IRMS
Headspace analyzer for IRMS
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Isotope analysis of greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are major drivers for climate change and so it is essential that we uncover the complex cycling mechanisms of these gases throughout the natural world. At the same time, we must seek to understand the anthropogenic contribution of these gases so that we can develop successful strategies to mitigate and counter-act humankind's damaging impact on the careful balances in the natural world. Isotopic analysis of atmospheric greenhouse gases is a critical tool in this regard thanks to the ability for isotopic analysis to elucidate the origin of a sample. iso FLOW GHG is a fully automated, continuous flow preparation system for the isotopic analysis of greenhouse gases originating from a range of sample matrices and is a key tool for climate science.

The iso FLOW GHG uses cryogenic pre-concentration to enable the high precision isotope analysis of CO2, N2O, and CH4, which are found at trace concentrations in the atmosphere. The automated chemical trapping and gas chromatography techniques utilized by the iso FLOW GHG allows the trace greenhouse gas to be isolated from other atmospheric constituents and delivered into the isotope ratio mass spectrometer without isotopic fractionation for the highest sensitivity of these low concentration gases.

As well as the analysis of atmospheric trace greenhouse gases, the iso FLOW GHG is ideal for the analysis of dissolved nitrates in seawater and fresh water using the “denitrification” technique. This method allows dual δ15N and δ18O analysis of NO3- from a single water sample with minimal sample preparation as well as exceptional limits of detection for low nitrate concentrations.

Highlights of the iso FLOW GHG

Improved gas separation capabilities

iso FLOW GHG has capacity for two capillary GC columns which can be heated up to 300 °C for in-situ bakeout

High temperature furnace

Optional combustion furnace can be operated at up to 1,500 °C for novel applications

High capacity autosampler

For the analysis of dissolved nitrate samples and gas samples in septum sealed vials using a dual-core needle

Software control of all parameters

Control of all pressures, flow rates, valves, and temperatures from ionOS® software reduces instrument contact time and consumption of resources and enables automated leak check procedures


Flexible sample handling options

The iso FLOW GHG is compatible with a range of different sampling options. Typically, the analysis of atmospheric trace greenhouse gases is performed using 100 ml, flow-through sample flasks with open/close valves but for greater throughput of these sample types from grab bags or lecture bottles, iso FLOW GHG can be modified to include an automated flask switching system device with vacuum purging. For high throughput analysis of gases and the determination of dissolved nitrate samples presented in septum-sealed vials, iso FLOW GHG is compatible with multiple sample vial types with up to 220 x 12 ml sample vials or 70 x 20 ml sample vials accommodated in the autosampler tray. Customized autosampler trays for other vial dimensions can easily be generated by us or by your own workshop for the highest flexibility. A manual injector port is also optionally available for direct injections of gases into the iso FLOW GHG.

Innovative capabilities for novel methods

The iso FLOW GHG provides the ideal starting point for researchers to customize their instrument for novel methods and applications. A significant advantage of the instrument over previous generation systems is the ability to accommodate up to two 30 m capillary GC columns in a thermocouple-controlled heated oven with a maximum temperature of 300 °C. This allows new possibilities for enhanced GC chromatographic techniques. As well as this, the iso FLOW GHG combustion furnace can operate at temperatures up to 1,500 °C allowing researchers to explore alternative furnace chemistries and target novel isotope species. When combined with the optional NICM development licenses available in ionOS® stable isotope software, iso FLOW GHG presents a unique solution for researchers to implement unique solutions for their experimental requirements.

Complete automation minimizes operator contact time

The analysis of your precious samples using the iso FLOW GHG is made substantially simpler thanks to the complete automation of the instrument. The iso FLOW GHG utilizes electronic flow and pressure controllers to precisely deliver gases and control sample flows throughout the system, all of which are under control from ionOS® software and thereby significantly reducing operator contact time with the instrument. With complete control of the analytical hardware from ionOS® software, the instrument can perform automated system checks, leak checking and system configuration changes making the instrument faster and easier to run for operators with diverse levels of experience.

Extend your δ15N analysis further with advanced options

The iso FLOW GHG offers several opportunities to further your analysis. N2 analysis can be performed alongside gases that are condensed with liquid nitrogen. For example: When performing δ15N and δ18O isotope analysis of atmospheric N2O, the system can optionally also measure δ15N of N2 atmospheric gas allowing dual analysis of these gases from a single sample vial or flask. As well as this, the isoprime precisION isotope ratio mass spectrometer can be optionally configured with a dedicated Faraday collector array for the site-specific isotope analysis of δ15N of N2O for better understanding of the biological pathways responsible for the production of N2O.

Product details

iso FLOW GHG is a compact bench top, sample preparation device for the isotopic analysis of trace greenhouse gases. The instrument uses chemical trapping, GC chromatography, and cryogenic focusing to purify target gas species and concentrate them prior to delivery to the isoprime precisION isotope ratio mass spectrometer. 

Before the sample analysis, the instrument is automatically purged of atmospheric contamination using helium carrier gas. Once clean, the instrument then flushes the sample container with helium and displaces the sample gas to the membrane trap where water vapor is removed. If the system is set to analyze N2O, the sample gas passes through a CO2 chemical trap and for CH4 analysis CO is oxidized to CO2 then subsequently retained in a cryogenic trap leaving pure CH4 ready for combustion to CO2. Once the target gas has been isolated, the gas is then concentrated using sequential cryogenic traps and then eventually passed to the isoprime precisION stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) for isotopic analysis.

Configure the instrument for your research

iso FLOW GHG is a flexible instrument which can be configured in a range of ways to best fit with your research goals. In the simplest configuration, the instrument can be configured for the analysis of CO2 and N2O with samples delivered from 100 ml sample flasks or a manual injection port. Extension of this system with an XYZ autosampler allows a range of different septum-sealed sample vials to be analyzed using our dual core needle system. This unique needle design allows helium carrier gas to either purge sample gas or sparge the sample liquid and remove dissolved/headspace N2O gas from the vial into the iso FLOW GHG for purification and concentration.

To also analyze δ13C of CH4 gas, iso FLOW GHG can be optionally configured with a high temperature furnace for the combustion of atmospheric CH4 to CO2 prior to cryo-focusing and delivery to the IRMS.

For improved analytical throughput, the iso FLOW GHG can be configured to use an automated liquid nitrogen refilling device which will ensure that the liquid nitrogen levels in the Dewar are maintained for substantially longer intervals.

  • Atmospheric CO2

  • Atmospheric N2O

  • Atmospheric CH4

  • Dissolved nitrates in seawater, freshwater

  • Mesocosm and microcosm headspace gases


Product flyer
Flyer iso FLOW GHG
Carbon isotope ratio analysis in atmospheric methane
Sequential N2 and N2O isotope measurement for denitrification studies
Determination of the δ13C and δ18O isotope ratio in atmospheric CO2
Plant and soil respiration experiments using δ13C isotope ratio analysis
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Please feel free to contact us.