Kentucky Stable Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory

At the University of Kentucky, we have the capability to measure isotopes of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and hydrogen in nearly any sample matrix.  This includes sample preparation, analysis, and post-processing of results. This facility is the most complete in the region.

For a more complete description of our analytical facilities and rates, check us out at 



Zenyatta (Thermo Finnigan DELTAplus XP)

Named after the beginner surf beach in Santa Cruz, Cowell is our workhorse, dedicated to the EA for analysis of carbon and nitrogen in sediment samples.

Aristides (Thermo Finnigan DELTAplus XP)

Named for the first winner of the Kentucky Derby, Aristides was the first mass spectrometer purchased by the lab. It features continuous-flow and dual-inlet capabilities and is also equipped with a multiport and microvolume. Currently, Aristides is interfaced with a Thermo GasBench II and a Thermo TC/EA via ConFlo III.

Mr. Longtail (Thermo MAT 253)

The nickname of the 1941 Triple Crown Winner, Longtail is equipped with a dual inlet system and 8 + 2 collector cups, giving it the ability to measure pure gases with m/z ratios of 2-3, 18, 28-30, 32-34, 40, 44-48, and 64-66. Longtail is currently interfaced with a Thermo EA IsoLink and a Trace GC IsoLink via ConFlo IV.



Limestone (Los Gatos Research T-LWIA-45-EP)

Delivered in July 2018, Limestone is capable of high-precision, high-throughput δ2H, δ17O, and δ18O measurement of water samples.


Picarro G1101-i

Used to discretely or continuously measure δ13CCO2 in gas samples. Field-deployable. Equipped with a custom-built 4-port sample introduction system. Interfaced with a LI-COR LI-820 CO2 gas analyzer for simultaneous collection of CO2 concentration data during field sampling sessions.



Thermo EA IsoLink

Delivered in April 2018, the EA IsoLink is equipped with a ramped GC column that enables rapid, precise δ34S measurements in samples as small as 0.050 mg in addition to δ15N and δ13C and %NCHS measurements in organic materials.


Costech ECS 4010 EA

Used to measure δ15N and δ13C, and %NCH in organic materials


Thermo Finnigan GasBench II

Used to analyze: δ13C and δ18O in carbonate-bearing materials; δ2H and δ18O in waters; δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC)

Thermo TC/EA

Used to analyze: δ2H and δ18O in both organic and inorganic materials; δ18O of phosphates (e.g. AgPO4), sulfates (e.g. BaSO4), and silicates


Trace GC IsoLink (CNH)

Used to analyze δ15N and δ13C (GC-C) and δ2H and δ18O (GC-TC) of specific compounds. Equipped with a split/splitless injector and automated LN2 trap. Currently, compound specific isotope analysis is performed on a collaborative basis only.


KSIGL has a wide range of sample preparation equipment available for preparation of most sample types, including a cryomill, clean box, titrator, autoclave, etc. See the KSIGL website for more details!