New Equipment for New Applications
Stable isotope ratio analysis is recognized as a standard technique for identifying adulterated foodstuffs. However applications of the technique in the food and drink industry are limited by the need to send samples back to a laboratory for analysis.
The development of cavity ring down laser (CRDL) based systems has allowed the development of more compact , mobile instruments for isotope analysis. However, CRDL systems are relatively slow, requiring tens of seconds per data point and so cannot be used with chromatographic systems, for example to measure the stable isotope profile of individual compounds within a complex food matrix. Commercially available CRDL systems also operate in the near infra-red wavelength range, which has comparatively high levels of interference. This reduces precision.
Thus the current generation of laser systems offers significant benefits over laboratory based systems but cannot match the flexibility and analytical power of those systems.
Mylnefield Isotope Signatures is participating in a Technology Strategy Board funded consortium set up to address those problems. We are contributing our technical expertise in stable isotope instrumentation and our considerable experience as a commercial end-user of stable isotope analysis equipment
One company in the consortium has already developed an improved laser analysis system with two significant advantages. With a thereotical data acquistion rate of one point every 10 milliseconds, the system is fast enough to perform stable isotope analysis on the output from a gas chromatograph. The laser also operates in the mid infra-red range giving reduced interference and higher precision.
The consortium was set up to commercialise a combined chromatography - laser analysis system with the goal of creating a new instrument that marries the power and flexibility of conventional laboratory based stable isotope analysis to the portability of a laser isotope system.
Mylnefield Isotope Signatures - helping to develop the next generation of stable isotope instrumentation.