Isotope Mass Spectrometry Course

Next course date TBC – School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol

Course open to:  All years

Course organiser: Dr Chris Coath &  Professor Tim Elliott

Course fee for non GW4+ PhD students : £100

Registration: non GW4+ PhD students should apply directly to

The course will outline key aspects of making isotopic measurements in Earth Science applications.  The approach will sequentially follow from sample preparation through to data analysis.  The participants will undertake a couple of practical exercises to familiarise them with some of the numerical manipulation required.  The course will focus mainly on instrumentation and a range of isotopes may be covered.

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Understand the main components involved in making isotope ratio measurements.
  • Undertake basic data reduction

Pre-requisite knowledge:

  • Basic maths, physics and chemistry

Outline of training programme (subject to change)

Day 1 – Sample preparation and introduction: chemical separation and laser ablation.

Mass spectrometry hardware.  Sources, mass separation, ion optics, and detection

Day 2 – Measurement.  Blanks, mass bias, detector considerations, bracketing methods, internal mass-bias correction, the double-spike method.

A practical session making an isotope ratio measurement

Day 3 –  Calculation exercises


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