Articles | Volume 14, issue 8
13 Aug 2010
 | 13 Aug 2010

On the reproducibility and repeatability of laser absorption spectroscopy measurements for δ2H and δ18O isotopic analysis

D. Penna, B. Stenni, M. Šanda, S. Wrede, T. A. Bogaard, A. Gobbi, M. Borga, B. M. C. Fischer, M. Bonazza, and Z. Chárová

Abstract. The aim of this study was to analyse the reproducibility of off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy (OA-ICOS)-derived δ2H and δ18O measurements on a set of 35 water samples by comparing the performance of four laser spectroscopes with the performance of a conventional mass spectrometer under typical laboratory conditions. All samples were analysed using three different schemes of standard/sample combinations and related data processing to assess the improvement of results compared with mass spectrometry. The repeatability of the four OA-ICOS instruments was further investigated by multiple analyses of a sample subset to evaluate the stability of δ2H and δ18O measurements.

Results demonstrated an overall agreement between OA-ICOS-based and mass spectrometry-based measurements for the entire dataset. However, a certain degree of variability existed in precision and accuracy between the four instruments. There was no evident bias or systematic deviations from the mass spectrometer values, but random errors, which were apparently not related to external factors, significantly affected the final results. Our investigation revealed that analytical precision ranged ±from ±0.56‰ to ±1.80‰ for δ2H and from ±0.10‰ to ±0.27‰ for δ18O measurements, with a marked variability among the four instruments. The overall capability of laser instruments to reproduce stable results with repeated measurements of the same sample was acceptable, and there were general differences within the range of the analytical precision for each spectroscope. Hence, averaging the measurements of three identical samples led to a higher degree of accuracy and eliminated the potential for random deviations.