New Tools for Isotopic Analysis

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Science  17 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5448, pp. 2289-2290
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5448.2289

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The isotopic compositions of natural materials are affected by a variety of processes besides radiogenic decay. Isotopic differences can vary widely in magnitude, and may be inhomogeneous on small scales. Isotope geochemists interested in determining the age of geological samples now have an arsenal of techniques for isotopic analysis at their disposal, but it remains to be seen whether these tools will be sufficient for the ambitious analytical goals of the near future, especially with regard to the analysis of extraterrestrial samples.