Isotope Services

Utilising mass spectrometry facilities at the James Hutton Institute, James Hutton Limited provides analyses for a range of stable isotopes from hydrogen to lead. 

Isotope analysis can be used in many scientific areas including THESE

Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen Isotopes

Using five isotope ratio mass spectrometers, connected to a wide range of peripheral equipment, we can measure the isotopes of carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and oxygen (O) in a wide range of samples.

For example:

* C, N and O isotopes in solids such as plant material, soils and marine sediments (hydrogen isotopes are under development)

* C isotopes of dissolved inorganic C in both fresh and saline waters and C isotopes of dissolved organic C in fresh waters

* C and O isotopes of carbon dioxide in gaseous materials

We are also capable of compound specific analysis of neutral and phospholipid fatty acids (C isotopes), alkanes (C isotopes) and amino acids(C and N isotopes); these analyses have many applications in biological science.

We also have extensive preparation facilities and experience of extracting these compounds from samples.  

Barry ThorntonFor more information about the work in this section and sample preparation, please contact Barry Thornton, tel: +44 (0) 1224 395123



Stable Radiogenic Isotopes

We have the capacity to perform high precision isotope ratio analysis of a range of non-gaseous element systems such as Mg, Ca, Cd, Sr, Nd-Sm and Pb, using Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (TIMS).


In 2017 we invested in a state of the art, Isotopx Phoenix TIMS  which will measure isotopes with the highest sensitivity and the highest isotope ratio precision.

This combined with a new prepFAST automated ion-exchange column system, enhances our ability to produce high quality, high precision data for our clients.


We can handle a diverse range of materials from waters, to plants, to rocks, to microfossils.

Previous analyses include:

* Geological investigations (e.g. Strontium Isotope Stratigraphy) for soils, pollution studies, plant element uptake and archaeological tracking.

* Geological materials including mineral separates, drill cuttings, whole rocks, residual salts, formation waters and micro-fossils.  All of which have been applied to reservoir geology nationally and internationally.

For the oil and gas industry, we work in partnership with ISOTOPIC Ltd. delivering high precision radiogenic isotope analysis.

Carol-Ann CraigFor more information about the work in this section and sample preparation, please contact Carol-Ann Craig Tel: +44 (0) 1224 395101

James Hutton Limited, Dundee: Invergowrie Dundee DD2 5DA Scotland +44 (0)1382 568 568 

James Hutton Limited, Aberdeen: Craigiebuckler Aberdeen AB15 8QH Scotland +44 (0)8449 285 428