In 1997 the Institute of Plant Physiology, Division of Chemical Physiology of Plants (Head: Prof. Dr. Marianne Popp) of the University of Vienna obtained a DeltaPLUS isotope ratio mass spectrometer with elemental analyzer for bulk stable isotope analyses of carbon and nitrogen in biological and ecological materials. Since then many projects have been performed, students courses held and isotope analysis has become an integral part of biological and ecological research at the University of Vienna. To anticipate the growing demand and development of stable isotope techniques including trace gas and compound-specific isotope analysis in ecological and environmental research a collaborative effort to more intensely integrate stable isotopes in biogeochemical and global change research has been funded by the Infrastructure III Program of the Austrian Government and the University of Vienna in 2005. Adaptation of room and setup of the new stable isotope facility has been finished at the Department of Chemical Ecology and Ecosystem Research in 2006 and SILVER been officially opened on December 6th, 2006.


The SILVER facility is fully equipped to approach biological, ecosystem and environmental research questions based on stable isotope techniques, interfacing front ends to isotope ratio mass spectrometers to measure bulk and compound-specific stable isotope ratios of hydrogen (H, D), carbon (13C, 12C), nitrogen (15N, 14N) and oxygen (18O, 16O) in water, trace gases, inorganic and organic compounds and more complex materials. Three continuous-flow isotope ratio mass spectrometers are interfaced to the range of sample preparation lines, including elemental analyzer, high-temperature pyrolysis system, headspace gas sampler and equilibration line, trace gas pre-concentrator, HPLC and gas chromatography.

Description of isotope ratio mass spectrometry systems

  • System 1:

  • Isotope ratio mass spectrometer (DeltaPLUS, Thermo Finnigan) with interface (ConFlo III, Thermo Finnigan) and two elemental analyzers (Flash EA and EA 1110, CE Instruments).
    -> see details System 1
  • System 2:

  • Isotope ratio mass spectrometer (Delta Advantage V, Thermo Fisher)with 2a. headspace gas sampler (GasBench, Thermo Fisher) and trace gas pre-concentrator (PreCon, Thermo Fisher), and 2b. interface (ConFlo III, Thermo Fisher) and high temperature pyrolysis analyzer (TCEA, Thermo Fisher).
    -> see details System 2
  • System 3:

  • Isotope ratio mass spectrometer (Delta Advantage V, Thermo Fisher) with 3a. interface (GC C II/TC, Thermo Fisher) and gas chromatograph (Trace GC, Thermo Fisher), 3b. Quadrupol gas chromatography-mass spectrometer (DSQ, Thermo Fisher), 3c. Curie-point pyrolysis autosampler (Pyromat) for Trace GC (Thermo Fisher), and 3d. interface (IsoLink, Thermo Fisher) and HPLC system (Dionex).
    -> see details System 3


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