EAG Short Course: Mass Spectrometry

Nuts and bolts of isotope ratio mass spectrometry

This short course took place on 9-11 January 2012 at the
School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK

Post-course lecture notes:

You can find lecture notes from this short course here. The lecture notes cover the following subjects:

  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Ion Exchange Chemistry
  • Mass Fractionation and Calibration
  • Statistics
  • Uncertainty in Boron Isotope Measurements


The short course was designed to develop understanding and key practical skills for early stage researchers in Earth Science who use sector-field, isotope ratio mass-spectrometry (i.e. multi-collector plasma, and thermal ionisation instruments). The course consisted of lectures, discussion sessions and some paper-data handling exercises. Participants were expected to share their own experiences in measurements and gain insight not only from from the taught components but also by discussion with other users with a wide range of experience. Each day dealt with different main topics:

  • Day 1: hardware
  • Day 2: sample preparation and calibration
  • Day 3: data handling and uncertainties

The course ws delivered by staff and researchers from the Bristol Isotope Group and the NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratory. There were also invited contributions from Stephan Richter from the Institute for Reference Material and Measurement, Marian Scott (University of Glasgow) and Noah McLean (MIT, USA).


The course was organised by Dan Condon (NIGL) and Tim Elliott (University of Bristol) and sponsored by EAG and NIGL.

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