Acquisition and processing of data for isotope-ratio-monitoring mass spectrometry

Margaret P. Ricci, Dawn A. Merritt, Katherine H. Freeman, J. M. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Methods are described for continuous monitoring of signals required for precise analyses of 13C, 18O, and 15N in gas streams containing varying quantities of CO2 and N2. The quantitative resolution (i.e. maximum performance in the absence of random errors) of these methods is adequate for determination of isotope ratios with an uncertainty of one part in 105; the precision actually obtained is often better than one part in 104. This report describes data-processing operations including definition of beginning and ending points of chromatographic peaks and quantitation of background levels, allowance for effects of chromatographic separation of isotopically substituted species, integration of signals related to specific masses, correction for effects of mass discrimination, recognition of drifts in mass spectrometer performance, and calculation of isotopic δ values. Characteristics of a system allowing off-line revision of parameters used in data reduction are described and an algorithm for identification of background levels in complex chromatograms is outlined. Effects of imperfect chromatographic resolution are demonstrated and discussed and an approach to deconvolution of signals from coeluting substances described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-571
Number of pages11
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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