EA-IRMS (Elemental Analyser - Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer)


  • ANCA-SL (Automated Nitrogen Carbon Analyser - Solids and Liquids) interfaced with a SerCon 20-22 IRMS (SysCon electronics)
  • Measurement of 15N and 13C at natural abundance and slightly enriched (<5 atom%) solid and liquid samples

EA-IRMS instruments1EA-IRMS instruments2 

13C and 15N analysis of solid materials: prices and practical information

ISOFYS provides 13C and 15N isotope analysis of solid materials such as soil, sediment, plant and animal tissue, etc., using EA-IRMS. We analyse both 13C and 15N on the same sample or we can use a CO2 trap to measure 15N only.

Equipment details

Solid materials are analysed using a PDZ Europa ANCA-GSL elemental analyser interfaced with a Sercon 20-22 IRMS with SysCon electronics (SerCon, Cheshire, UK). The samples are measured relative to laboratory standards, which are adjusted to the sample size and have been calibrated against international standards by Iso-Analytical. The final delta unit is expressed relative to international standards VPDB (Vienna PeeDee Belemnite) for 13C and AIR for 15N.


All prices are in EURO and exclude VAT (21%) and Ghent University overhead (17%)

EA-IRMS Prices

 The prices above are for prepared samples only.

See below for extra fees.

 EA-IRMS extra fees

Samples are queued for each analysis according to the order of receipt. The turnaround times listed are approximates for properly prepared samples.

Sample preparation 

Small samples that meet the target weight can be capsuled entirely in tin capsules. Getting a representative sample of larger samples usually requires grinding and homogenizing.

Soils should be ground with a planetary ball mill for 5 min at 260 rpm. For plant samples, the samples are ground with a centrifugal rotor mill with a sieve of 250 µm.The amount of sample required depends on the amount of carbon and nitrogen in the material. A sample should contain between 25-200µg N and 50-1200µg C. 

To determine the appropriate sample weights, use the Sample Weight Calculator

Samples should be put in 5x8 mm, tin capsules (SerCon, order number: SC0009 pkg 250) or 5x12mm, tin capsules (SerCon, order number: SC0018 pkg 200). The sample calculator will show what capsules to use.

Samples should be sealed as follows

Fill the capsule with sample and pinch the top closed with forceps and fold it over. Then take the top again and fold it once more. Turn the sample and pinch the sides inward.  Look at the small video at youtube.


Organize samples into a clean 96-well tray. Please use all wells in a tray.

EA-IRMS sample preparation


For small samples, ensure they remain in the wells during shipping by placing an index card (cut to size) or parafilm over the tray before securing the lid. Do not
use adhesive tape to cover the open wells. Tape the lid securely closed using tape on all four sides.

Label each tray with a unique name. Include this tray name in the Sample list.

Results will include the unique tray name and well position (e.g. A1).

For enriched samples, arrange samples to avoid wide fluctuations in isotope content. Place non-enriched samples ahead of enriched samples within the same tray, or place non-enriched and enriched samples in separate trays.