Max Planck Society
Max Planck Institut for Biogeochemistry

Stable Isotope Laboratory (BGC-IsoLab)

Heiko Moossen, Dr.

Phone: +49 (0)3641 57 - 6400
Fax: +49 (0)3641 57 - 7400

BGC-IsoLab Webpage

High precision analysis of isotope ratios

The BGC stable isotope laboratory serves as a central service to members of the institute and to external collaborators for determining stable isotopic compositions of a large number of different types of samples. In addition, the IsoLab has an independent role in the scientific community with a focus on new instrumental aspects, calibration, and isotopic standardization (in collaboration with IAEA and USGS). For the air-CO2 community, IsoLab acts as a WMO Central Calibration Laboratory (CCL). In this role it provides reference materials (‚JRAS’) to other laboratories and maintains an active role in intercomparison activities. A similar role is envisaged for the future in methane isotope analysis. A complex analytical system for analyzing the CH4 isotopes has been developed.

Easy-to-understand fact sheet (pdf)


  • irm-EAMS for δ13C and δ15N
  • δ2H and δ18O determination from water and solid samples
  • Isotopic analysis of CO2 in air
  • analyses of CH4 isotopes in air samples
  • analyses of O2/N2 and Ar/N2 ratios in air

Major equipment

  • ten isotope ratio mass spectrometers
  • several automated sample delivery devices

Sample carrousel for air samples (Photo: Susanne Héjja) Open Split Interface (bulk-δ'^18^'O and δ'^2^'H analysis) (Photo: Susanne Héjja) Combustion reactor, Laser ablation device for tree-ring δ'^13^'C (Photo: Susanne Héjja) Mass Spectrometer MAT 252, Ion source housing (Photo: Susanne Héjja) Mass spectrometer Delta Plus (δ'^13^'C and δ'^15^'N from bulk samples) (Photo: Susanne Héjja)
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