Measurements of ratios of stable isotopes are used in such diverse fields as petroleum prospecting, medical diagnostics, and planetary exploration. The narrow emission linewidth available from tunable diode lasers permits high-resolution infrared absorption measurements of closely spaced isotopic rovibrational lines. Our dual beam spectrometer uses the sweep integration technique in a spectral region where adjacent spectral lines are of approximately equal absorbance at the expected isotopic abundances. The experimental results reported here indicate that isotopic ratios of carbon in carbon dioxide can be measured to an accuracy of better than 0.4%. This laser spectroscopic spectrometric technique offers an alternative to the mass technique for in situ isotopic analysis in field studies, as well as flight and space applications.
Todd B. Sauke, J. F. Becker, and M. Loewenstein. "Stable isotope analysis using tunable diode laser spectroscopy" Applied Optics (1992): 1921-1927.