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Stable Isotope Core Laboratory Sample Submission

Submitting Samples

If you have previously submitted samples to this facility prior to 2021 please contact us regarding updated requirements, as the lab is utilizing new methodologies.

Please contact the laboratory manager at before submitting samples!  We will work with you to determine sample size required for analysis.  We can also provide advice on other steps that may be necessary for your analysis.

Select the appropriate form below for submitting samples and use a unique identifier for each sample ID. Replicate analyses are treated as an independent sample unless there was an error on our part. If you are submitting duplicate samples, you can add a suffix to make it unique (I.E. sample1-01, sample1-02, sample1.1, sample 1.2).

Please use this submission sheet when sending new samples regardless of sample or analysis type.


If you are considering packaging your own samples and sending them, pre-encapsulated, to our facility please consider the following. The sample amounts required for analysis will vary depending on the material type (e.x., soil, organic material, plant matter etc.) it is therefore, very important that you contact the lab manager at before beginning to package your samples. Once the correct weight has been determined, a proper encapsulation tin size can be chosen. In most cases a 3.2 x 4 mm or 3 x 5 mm tin size is acceptable and can easily hold sample weights of up to 5 mg. Larger samples, such as soils or glass fiber filters may require larger tins. However, with the exception of those two sample types using larger tins is usually unnecessary, and results in a strain on our equipment. Therefore, inappropriate packaging of samples may incur a surcharge.

Please also note that proper encapsulation of your samples is paramount to proper analysis, irregular shaped tins can cause jams, or other errors with our machines. Please, therefore, consult our resource on proper sample preparation here – (sample weighing tutorial). Most packed capsules can be submitted in a 96 well cell plate. For large samples, 48 and 32 position trays are also available. Contact us if you need any sample trays. We have a large supply of clean trays. Secure the lid with tape and label the tray before shipping. For very small samples this is even more important. Wrapping the tray with a parafilm or adding a sealing mat or index card before attaching the lid can ensure that samples don’t migrate out of original positions during shipping. If samples arrive leaky or packaged poorly, additional fees may be applied to double wrap in fresh tin or silver.

Extremely large samples or difficult to combust samples (wood, filters, soils) are subject to a surcharge. Contact the lab manager for more details.

If you are submitting soils from a foreign country, special importation regulations exist. Please contact us for additional shipping requirements.


Solid samples Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen & Hydrogen (EA, TC/EA)

Appropriate sample amounts must be determined first by the lab manager. Samples for 13C, 15N, or 34S analysis need to be in tin capsules and samples for 18O & 2H analysis need to be in silver capsules. Samples less than 5 mg can typically fit in 3.5 x 5 mm or smaller capsules. Please contact us if you plan on using capsules larger than 3.5×5.  Please use the smallest capsule possible and fold tightly into a small sphere to reduce jams in autosamplers and reactors. Most packed capsules can be submitted in a 96 well cell plate.

Solid Samples Sulfur (EA)

Solid Samples submitted for sulfur analysis require some specialized preparation if you desire to send pre-encapsulated samples. Please contact us at before preparing or sending samples.


Carbonates can be processed for 13C using EA techniques identified above. For 13C and 18O analysis of carbonates, we digest powdered samples with H3PO4 and analyze evolved CO2 using a ThermoFinnigan Gasbench II coupled to a DeltaPlus XP Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer. Samples are typically supplied in powdered form, which our lab staff weighs into exetainers and subjects to carbonate treatment. Samples can also be shipped preweighed into client’s exetainers.

Gas Samples

Please contact lab manager at

Water Samples

Gas Bench II: Samples are analyzed in 12-mL vials with septa caps. If desired, the WSU laboratory can pipette water samples to vials for a minimal charge per sample. In some cases, use of our vials may be possible. Contact the lab manager for details.

Dissolved Nitrate (NO3-): Please contact lab manager at