Browsing Radiocarbon, Volume 40, Number 1 (1998) by Authors
Microscale AMS 14C Measurement at NOSAMSPearson, Ann; McNichol, Ann P.; Schneider, Robert J.; Von Reden, K. F.; Zheng, Yan (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)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 CO2 are reduced to graphite over cobalt catalyst at an optimal temperature of 605 degrees C. Measured 14C/12C 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 14C contamination indicates that the sample combustion process is the largest contributor, adding ca. 1 micrograms of carbon with a less-than-modern 14C concentration.