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NOSAMS > About > Instrumentation and Services

Instrumentation and Services

The facility operates two AMS systems and an extensive sample preparatory laboratory (SPL) specifically designed for the state-of-the-art measurements needed by the oceanographic and earth science communities.

The Continuous Flow AMS (CFAMS) system is custom built around a 500 kV National Electrostatics Corporation (NEC) accelerator. It has been continuously upgraded, with a particular focus on providing high accuracy and precision on the small and ultrasmall graphite samples .

A new MIni CArbon DAting System (MICADAS) was purchased with funds from a successful NSF MRI proposal and WHOI cost sharing and installed in 2022. Samples can be introduced as graphite or via the Gas Interface System (GIS) that performs measurements with an Elemental Analyzer (EA) or a Carbonate Handling System (CHS), opening opportunities for new analytical services and techniques.

  • MICADAS organic carbon (ready to burn) by online elemental analyzer (EA)-AMS
  • MICADAS inorganic carbon (acidification) by online carbonate handling system (CHS)-AMS
  • MICADAS dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) by online headspace-AMS

The Sample Prep Lab is well staffed to process a wide variety of carbon-bearing materials for conversion to CO2 and subsequent reduction to solid graphite for analysis on the AMS systems.

Sample processing services for radiocarbon analysis include:

  • Pretreatment of organic carbon samples (wood, peat, sediment, POC, aerosols, etc.)
    • Acid-base-acid removal of carbonate and humic acids
    • Acid fumigation
  • Extraction of aqueous CO2 (seawater, groundwater, vent fluids, etc.)
    • DIC - Rapid Extraction of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon System (REDICS) or water stripping
    • DOC – UV oxidation of Dissolved Organic Carbon
  • Extraction and purification of CO2 or methane from gas mixtures
  • Ramped pyrolysis/oxidation (RPO) for separating complex organic mixtures for 14C analyses based on thermal reactivity. Contact for pricing and details
  • Acidification of sediments and carbonate materials.
    • Acid-only removal of carbonate minerals
    • Aqueous etching with 10% HCl
  • Contamination check/swipe sample analysis
    • Available for clients submitting natural level radiocarbon samples.
  • High Precision Analysis
    • Defined as a measurement made to an analytical precision of less than 2 per mille on a modern 1 mg C sample is available on request. For high-precision measurements, a surcharge applies. Investigators considering high-precision analyses must contact NOSAMS staff to discuss the project and precision requirements prior to submitting samples.

For more information see Radiocarbon Services.