Continuous operation of spectroscopy instruments for stable isotope analysis



[1] Routine Application of Novel Stable Isotope Spectroscopy Instruments; Berkeley, California, 12 December 2010; Stable isotopes provide a tracer for biogeochemical processes and for exchange between the biosphere and atmosphere at local to global scales. Recent developments in laser spectroscopy now offer the ability to measure stable isotopes in small molecules such as water vapor and carbon dioxide in unprecedented temporal resolution (up to 10 hertz). In a meeting organized with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation–funded Biogeosphere-Atmosphere Stable Isotope Network (BASIN), an international group consisting of researchers and manufacturers' representatives discussed the challenges of daily use of absorption spectroscopy instruments for stable isotope analysis in continuous field operation. Technological advancement in absorption spectroscopy analysis techniques tied to increased availability of affordable instruments has opened the door to new scientific opportunities and facilitates the use of stable isotope analysis by a larger group of researchers. Despite technological progress, though, stable isotope analysis still requires delicate treatment of samples and setup. Meeting participants tried to identify the key responsibilities for individual labs and the scientific community to help ensure comparability of results and prepare for future regional to global collaborative research efforts. The meeting was concluded with the recommendations below.