Online high-precision delta(2)H and delta(18)O analysis in water by pyrolysis.

  • Feng H Lu
  • Published 2009 in Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM


A method for online simultaneous delta(2)H and delta(18)O analysis in water by high-temperature conversion is presented. Water is injected by using a syringe into a high-temperature carbon reactor and converted into H(2) and CO, which are separated by gas chromatography (GC) and carried by helium to the isotope ratio mass spectrometer for hydrogen and oxygen isotope analysis. A series of experiments was conducted to evaluate several issues such as sample size, temperature and memory effects. The delta(2)H and delta(18)O values in multiple water standards changed consistently as the reactor temperature increased from 1150 to 1480 degrees C. The delta(18)O in water can be measured at a lower temperature (e.g. 1150 degrees C) although the precision was relatively poor at temperatures <1300 degrees C. Memory effects exist for delta(2)H and delta(18)O between two waters, and can be reduced (to <1%) with proper measures. The injection of different amounts of water may affect the isotope ratio results. For example, in contrast to small injections (100 nL or less) from small syringes (e.g. 1.2 microL), large injections (1 microL or more) from larger syringes (e.g. 10 microL) with dilution produced asymmetric peaks and shifts of isotope ratios, e.g. 4 per thousand for delta(2)H and 0.4 per thousand for delta(18)O, probably resulting from isotope fractionation during dilution via the ConFlo interface. This method can be used to analyze nanoliter samples of water (e.g. 30 nL) with good precision of 0.5 per thousand for delta(2)H and 0.1 per thousand for delta(18)O. This is important for geosciences; for instance, fluid inclusions in ancient minerals may be analyzed for delta(2)H and delta(18)O to help understand the formation environments.

DOI: 10.1002/rcm.4232

Cite this paper

@article{Lu2009OnlineHD, title={Online high-precision delta(2)H and delta(18)O analysis in water by pyrolysis.}, author={Feng H Lu}, journal={Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM}, year={2009}, volume={23 19}, pages={3144-50} }