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The effect of N2O on the isotopic composition of air-CO2 samples

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62382

Ghosh,  P.
Service Facility Stable Isotope/Gas Analytics, Dr. W. A. Brand, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62345

Brand,  W. A.
Service Facility Stable Isotope/Gas Analytics, Dr. W. A. Brand, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Ghosh, P., & Brand, W. A. (2004). The effect of N2O on the isotopic composition of air-CO2 samples. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 18(16), 1830-1838.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-D194-8
Abstract
The ionisation efficiencies of N2O vs. CO2 as well as their ratios were measured in detail introducing clean N2O and CO2 into the electron impact ion source of an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Changes in the ionisation efficiency ratio (IER) were found for different electron energy settings and compared with the ratios of literature ionisation cross-section values for pure N2O and CO2. To establish the influence of mixtures of N2O and CO2 in a mass spectrometer, artificial air mixtures were prepared by mixing different amounts of N2O and CO2 from well-calibrated spike cylinders with CO2-free air. The mixing ratios varied from 8-512 ppb for N2O and from 328-744 ppm for CO2. With these mixtures the effects of varying N2O Concentrations on apparent CO2 isotope ratios in air samples were determined. After applying a mass balance correction the delta(13)C results were consistent within small error margins. The data seemed almost independent from a particular choice for the IER of N2O vs. CO2 in the correction algorithm. For delta(18)O a small effect of the ionisation efficiency ratio of N2O vs. CO2 was found. Several sets of calculations were made varying the IER between 0.88 and 0.62. The dependence of delta(18)O was the smallest with an adopted IER of 0.68-0.72 in the mass balance correction equation for isotopic analysis of CO2 in air. For high-precision measurements of the CO2 stable isotope ratios in air samples a careful assessment of the mass spectrometer performance is necessary. Different ion sources, even different ion source settings, alter the IER of N2O vs. CO2 which is used in the N2O correction algorithm. Preferably, the specific mass spectrometric behaviour should be established with clean N2O/CO2 mixtures or with air mixtures covering a larger range of N2O concentrations. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. [References: 12]