Absolute isotope ratios of carbon dioxide a feasibility study

Lukas Flierl*, Olaf Rienitz, Paul J. Brewer, Harro A. J. Meijer, Farilde M. Steur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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One way of obtaining isotope ratios, traceable to the International System of Units, is the gravimetric isotope mixtures method. Adapting this method to carbon dioxide is challenging since measuring all twelve isotopologues at once with a gas mass spectrometer is currently not possible. The calculation of the mass bias correction factors is no straightforward task due to the fact that the isotopic equilibrium has to be considered. This publication demonstrates a potential way of adapting this method to carbon dioxide while considering isotope equilibrium. We also show how we prepared binary blends from enriched/depleted carbon dioxide parent gases and how equilibrating the different gases by heating affects the measurements. Furthermore, we reveal mathematical limitations of our approach when the gases are not in isotope equilibrium and which issues occur due to measurement limitations. In a simulation, using authentic data, we asses our approach in terms of achievable uncertainties and discuss further improvements, like using atomic spectroscopy methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2545-2564
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of analytical atomic spectrometry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1-Nov-2020


  • CO2

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