Iso-Analytical is a private, commercial laboratory specialising in the
analysis of the light stable isotopes (hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen
and sulfur). Iso-Analytical was established in January 2000 by scientists who
all have many years experience in the provision of isotope analysis services.
All senior members of staff have previously served as managers or analysts in
reputable isotope analysis facilities. We pride ourselves in providing our
customers with stable isotope analysis of the highest quality.
We know that selection of a stable isotope laboratory for analysis of samples,
which are likely to have required much time and effort to collect, can be an arduous
task. We suggest you read the guidelines to choosing a good contract laboratory
Chapter 2.4.3 of Isotope Tracers in Catchment Hydrology edited by Kendall and McDonnell, Elsevier (1998). Our answers to the questions that arise from reading of this text are given below:
Q: How can I be sure that the samples I submit will be analysed by an experienced analyst, who performs analyses on a routine basis?
A: All analyses are managed by members of staff who have upwards of 12 years experience in the provision of isotope analysis services and are educated to degree level or above in a related discipline. As Iso-Analytical specialise in stable isotope analysis, all technical staff are involved in the provision of isotope analysis on a daily basis.
Q: How will you verify the reproducibility of analyses?
A: The reproducibility of measurements is often decisive to correct interpretation of data. With this in mind, we offer duplicate analysis of all samples as standard. When you are on a tight budget, or sample size is limited, we offer analysis of 20 % of samples in duplicate.
Q: How will you verify the accuracy of analyses?
A: Firstly, samples will be measured against reference standard(s), which are traceable to internationally accepted standards. The most appropriate reference standard(s) for use in measurement of your samples will be selected from our range of over 50 laboratory references.
Secondly, "test samples" of laboratory references which are traceable to internationally accepted standards will be measured along with samples to check the accuracy of analysis during each run sequence and reported to you along with your sample data.
Q: Do you operate automated preparation systems?
A: Automated preparation systems provide more consistent results over the long-term than manual preparation systems. We operate automated preparation systems for hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur isotope analysis of organic materials and permanent gases, and hydrogen and oxygen isotope analysis of water.
Q: Can you tell me how my samples will be prepared and analysed?
A: Standard operating procedures are used for all of our routine services and are available to customers upon request. Details of the procedures followed will also be provided in the laboratory report we issue on completion of analysis.
Q: Is your management of data computer-controlled?
A: Yes. All data processing, data reduction and tabulation is undertaken using computers. This guards against inaccuracies resulting from typographical errors, etc. In addition, results are available to customers as Excel worksheet or tab delimited text files.
Q: What happens to my samples after analysis?
A: We will return any unused sample material following analysis, upon request. Otherwise, we will retain your samples for a minimum of 3 months following reporting before disregarding.