Transportable Isotope Ratio Measurements

Organization: Thermo Fisher Scientific
Co-Developer(s): H.J. Jost, Principal Developer, Eric Wapelhorst, Principal Developer
Year: 2014

2014 R&D 100 Winner Before the introduction of the Thermo Scientific Delta Ray Isotope Ratio Infrared Spectrometer, it was all but impossible to obtain accurate, verifiable real-time or high-frequency sampling of carbon dioxide isotope ratio data from samples at their sources in the field. The size, weight and complexity of traditional instruments capable of delivering the analytical power needed for these experiments demanded a conventional laboratory setting. This required samples to be captured and transported to the laboratory, limiting sampling frequency and adding to the expense. Transportable laser-based instruments couldn’t verify results using reference systems.

However, the Delta Ray spectrometer is a laser-based system that optically measures isotope ratios. Mid-infrared range radiation generated in a crystal from two lasers interacts with the sample in an optical chamber. Radiation is absorbed by carbon dioxide at discrete wavelengths due to the quantum mechanical rotational and vibrational states. The spectra of the different isotopologues are shifted to each other and allow their relative abundances to be easily determined, and hence the isotope ratios. While competitive laser-based instruments operate in the near-infrared range, the Delta Ray platform was designed to operate in the mid-infrared range because absorption lines are about 8,000 times stronger than the mid-IR. Unique for a field-transportable isotope ratio instrument, the Delta Ray system contains an integrated Universal Reference Interface (URI) that provides scientists with fully automated referencing and calibration for verifiable measurements.

Technology Infrared spectrometer

Developers Thermo Fisher Scientific

Development Team

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Thermo Fisher Scientific's Delta Ray Isotope Ratio Infrared Spectrometer development team.













The Thermo Scientific Delta Ray Isotope Ratio Infrared Spectrometer Development Team from Thermo Fisher Scientific H.J. Jost, Principal Developer Eirc Wapelhorst, Principal Developer