Measurements of Sulfur Isotope Composition on Ultrasmall (80 nanomole) Sulfide and Sulfate Samples by EA-IRMS

Chinese Acadamy of Geological Sciences

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    The traditional method for sulfur isotope measurement using EA-IRMS commonly requires sulfur content greater than 2 μmol. Such large sample size limits its application to low-S materials., and is mainly due to the ineffective utilization of sample gas, almost 99.7% of which is discarded with carrier gas through the split port of continuous-flow interface. A modified EA-IRMS system with a gas chromatographic (GC) column and a custom-built cryogenic concentration device is used in this study. We measured six reference materials to test the performance of this method. The results were consistent with those obtained through traditional EA-IRMS. Precisions ranging from ±0.24‰–±0.76‰ (1σ) can be obtained with samples equivalent to ~80 nmol sulfur, which were similar to an alternative method using absorption column. Our improved method is a powerful tool for sulfur isotope measurement in ultrasmall sulfide and sulfate samples, and can be further applied to carbon, nitrogen and oxygen isotope analyses of samples at about 100 nmol level.

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  • Received:February 19,2021
  • Revised:May 26,2021
  • Adopted:May 29,2021
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