Press Releases

Picarro Introduces a Shoe Box-Sized Device that Extracts Water in Minutes from Environmental, Tissue and Food Samples for High-Precision Isotope Analysis Anywhere in the World

Sunnyvale, Calif., April 4 –  Picarro, the maker of the world’s leading instruments for carbon and water cycle measurements today unveiled its new Induction Module - Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (IM-CRDS) system, a compact, field-deployable and high-precision water isotope measurement solution that can extract water from plant, soil, and food samples and measure hydrogen and oxygen isotopes in the extracted water all within five minutes or less. The Induction Module is a new shoe box-sized device from Picarro that integrates seamlessly with Picarro’s L2120-i water isotope analyzers. When combined, the IM-CRDS provides the unique and previously unavailable capability of performing water extraction in remote locations far from the lab.  “I was very excited to see this new technology which greatly simplifies the analysis of water isotopes,” says Joe Berry, senior staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science and a consulting professor at Stanford University. “It will open up research into plant and soil waters, and indeed the entire area of environmental water.”

With a patent-pending design, the Induction Module uses proven induction technology to rapidly heat samples placed in a glass vial to temperatures as high as 200 degrees Celsius within seconds. Dry gas carries the water vapor released from the sample into the L2120-i analyzer, tightly  integrating sample preparation and analysis.  “Isotope tracers are a critical tool for numerous applications, but extracting water from solids with incumbent cryogenic distillation techniques is very time consuming, laboratory-based, and operationally difficult. We’re changing that. This solution creates endless new application possibilities for scientists by allowing them to perform high-precision water isotope measurements at will - almost anywhere on Earth,” says Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro. “We believe many scientists will take advantage of this invaluable technology to conduct research  which was practically impossible.”

Picarro’s Induction Module replaces cryogenic distillation systems that often require an entire room, a highly-skilled dedicated operator, and over 90 minutes to process a single sample. In contrast, the Induction Module requires an operator to merely deposit a hole-punch-sized sample into a laboratory vial and insert the vial into the device. The onboard software then automatically completes the sample heating and water extraction, and integrates isotopic data directly into Picarro’s analyzer software for simple data storage and processing.

The new Induction Model integrates exclusively with Picarro’s L2120-i water isotope analyzer and can be purchased individually or with the L2120-i for an IM-CRDS combination. The IM-CRDS system builds on Picarro’s market-leading laser-based optical analysis systems and peripherals for both carbon and water isotopes. The L2120-i analyzer is used by top scientists for in situ water isotope measurements in remote and unforgiving locations around the world from the ice fields of Antarctica to the European Alps to the blazing plains of Equatorial Africa.

Picarro’s customer base includes institutions in more than 50 countries, deploying instruments on all seven continents. Those customers comprise top universities (Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, the Max Planck Institutes, Nanjing University), top research organizations (NOAA, Australia’s CSIRO and the China Meteorological Administration), top government regulatory agencies (the German, Irish and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies), and the world’s largest corporations (Waste Management Inc., Alcan). With a relentless commitment to technology innovation, Picarro works closely with these and other customers to continually produce unique instruments and new technologies that expand the application boundaries of gas concentration and stable isotope analysis and transform any location on Earth into a 24/7 world-class science lab.