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Laboratory Capabilities

NOSAMS provides high quality radiocarbon measurements for research in paleoceanography, ocean circulation, carbon cycling, and climate change. NOSAMS knows how to handle, process, and analyze just about any carbon-bearing sample. We provide experienced advice on sample selection and preparation, help ensure your laboratory is contamination-free, and provide advice on secondary standards and other QA/QC procedures.

Investigators and students who want to use radiocarbon analysis as an important tool in their work can schedule visits to NOSAMS to use our facilities and to train with our scientific and technical staff. Often these collaborations lead to new methods and interesting new ways to use the radiocarbon isotope in carbon studies. In addition to routine sample preparation facilities, we also house extensive capabilities for Compound Specific Radiocarbon Analysis (CSRA), a Ramped Pyrolysis and Oxidation (RPO) System, and a Rapid Extraction of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon System (REDICS).

The Sample Preparation Laboratory

The Sample Preparation Lab (SPL) at NOSAMS has facilities to process almost any carbon-containing material. The SPL has the ability to pre-treat organic samples by removing inorganic carbon and base-soluble organic acids. Inorganic carbon samples are directly acidified. In addition to solid inorganic and organic carbon samples, we are equipped to process DIC and DOC in water samples.

 

 

Associated Instrumentation

NOSAMS is equipped with readily available commercial instruments and in-house developed systems to process a wide range carbon bearing samples in our facility. There is also a well equipped lab for the separation and collection of compounds for compound-specific radiocarbon analysis (CSRA). Ancillary measurements of δ13C are provided by two stable isotope mass spectrometers.

 

 

After conversion to graphite, samples are analysed either on our 3MV tandetron AMS or our 500kV pelletron AMS. The pelletron is equipped with a microwave plasma gas ion source interfaced to various inlet technologies, including a gas bench for analysis of carbonates, and a gas chromatograph for compound-specific analysis.