Microscale AMS (super <sup>14</sup>) C measurement at NOSAMS

TitleMicroscale AMS (super 14) C measurement at NOSAMS
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsPearson, A, McNichol, AP, Schneider, RJ, von Reden, KF, Zheng, Y
Corporate AuthorsPearson, A
Date Published1998
PublisherUniversity of Arizona, Department of Geosciences, Tucson, AZ, United States (USA)
Conference LocationUnited States (USA)
Keywords03, absolute age, accelerator mass spectroscopy, accuracy, C-14, C-14/C-12, carbon, Carbon dioxide, combustion, data processing, Geochronology, graphite, isotope fractionation, isotopes, mass spectroscopy, mathematical methods, methods, native elements, radioactive isotopes, sample preparation, size, spectroscopy, Stable isotopes

Techniques for making precise and accurate radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurements on samples containing less than a few hundred micrograms of carbon are being developed at the NOSAMS facility. A detailed examination of all aspects of the sample preparation and data analysis process shows encouraging results. Small quantities of CO (sub 2) are reduced to graphite over cobalt catalyst at an optimal temperature of 605 degrees C. Measured (super 14) C/ (super 12) C ratios of the resulting targets are affected by machine-induced isotopic fractionation, which appears directly related to the decrease in ion current generated by the smaller sample sizes. It is possible to compensate effectively for this fractionation by measuring samples relative to small standards of identical size. Examination of the various potential sources of background (super 14) C contamination indicates that the sample combustion process is the largest contributor, adding ca. 1 mu g of carbon with a less-than-modern (super 14) C concentration.