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The Sample Preparation Laboratory

The Sample Preparation Lab (SPL) is staffed by 5-6 full-time technicians who process all natural carbon samples submitted to the facility and produce graphite (solid carbon) samples for AMS analysis, including standards and blanks. Members of the SPL maintain and upgrade apparatus and instrumentation as well as the automation software that controls all processes.

Isolation of organic materials

  • Preparative capillary gas-liquid chromatography (PCGC)
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • Acid-base-acid removal of carbonate and humic acids
  • Acid only removal of only carbonate minerals
    • Aqueous rinsing with 10% HCl
    • Acid Fumigation

Conversion of samples to CO2

  • Acidification of carbonate minerals
  • Organic carbon, combustion
    • Elemental analyzer (> 0.5% C)
    • Sealed-tube combustion
  • Dissolved inorganic carbon in natural waters
    • Acidification and purging
    • Membrane transfer
  • Dissolved organic carbon in natural waters
    • UV oxidation

Conversion of CO2 to graphite and analysis of 13C in CO2

  • Automated systems
    • 20 graphite reactor system (samples .24 - 3.6 mg C)
    • 10 graphite reactor system (samples .11 - 2.4 mg C) with Dual Belllows system for standards production
    • 10 graphite reactor system (samples .024 - 1.56mg C)
  • Manual systems
    • 6 graphite reactors (samples .24 - 3.6 mg C)
    • 4 Ultra small reactors (samples .012 - 1.2 mg C)
  • Sealed Tube Graphite