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NOSAMS > Radiocarbon Services > Client Portal and Submission Information

Client Portal and Submission Information

Electronic Sample Submission

The secure Client Web Portal allows NOSAMS clients to perform three tasks:

  • Enter required submission data online (prior to sending samples)
  • Check sample status
  • Retrieve radiocarbon results

Important: the username for your Web Portal account will be the email address that will be used for all future correspondence including acknowledgement of receipt, estimate of fees, report of results and invoicing.

During the submission process, you will be asked to provide information about funding and to select a payment option. Submitters are also provided with a link to the appropriate Excel spreadsheet form used to provide sample details to help us analyze your samples (such as sample type, mass, and prior treatment etc.). For solid samples, a sample weight in milligrams is one of the most important pieces of information we request. We need this to assess how best to process the sample and to provide an estimate of fees. No sample can be analyzed until all the required information is provided through the Web Portal and the Excel form is emailed using the address provided during the Portal session.

Note: You can log in, start a submission process, and save it for later. When you log back into the Portal you have the option to resume at the point where you left off or to start over (if you saved the submission).

Sample processing begins when the samples arrive and are logged in. An email acknowledgement is sent that lists the samples received with an assigned unique receipt number for each. The acknowledgement email includes an estimate of fees that can be used to obtain a purchase order. Invoices are issued after samples are analyzed and results reported.

General Guidelines for Preparing AMS Samples


When handling samples it is important not to touch them. Use disposable gloves to avoid imparting any carbon or oils from your skin to the sample. Wet samples invite bacteria to grow. Air dry the samples or use a low temperature oven (50 deg C), weigh them and then send them. Tent the samples when drying to prevent dust from settling on them. Visually inspect your samples, with a microscope if possible, and remove any material that does not belong. We recommend baking out aluminum foil prior to using it to remove any petrochemical residue that may remain from manufacturing (500 deg C for an hour).


We expect submitters to prepare samples which are "ready to analyze". This doesn't mean that we'll handle them mindlessly. We just believe that it's best to draw a line between sample definition —the investigator's task— and sample processing. The investigator will always know more about the samples than we do, and should define the sample by removing as much contamination from a sample as possible (e.g., sediment, quartz grains, rootlets) and where there is ample material, by carefully choosing a subsample for AMS analysis. Submit only what you want us to analyze.


We recommend that samples requiring chilling be sent by overnight express and that you avoid scheduling delivery for a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday.

Please mail samples to:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
NOSAMS Sample Submission
Attn:  K. Elder MS #8
266 Woods Hole Rd
Woods Hole, MA  02543

Clear glass or plastic vials (1-2 dram with screw cap) and jars are preferred. Pre-baked aluminum foil is fine if baked for one hour at 525 degrees Celsius. A small piece of baked foil can be placed over the vial and then the cap placed on it to prevent sample material from getting stuck to the cap liner or crushed in the threads.  Place well-labelled containers inside individual plastic bags to prevent sample mixing in case of breakage during shipping.

Customs Declaration for DIRECT shipment to NOSAMS address:


Customs and carriage value – 1 USD

Harmonized Tariff Number (HS code) – 280300


Solid sample material not consumed during analysis is archived at NOSAMS for a two-year period from the date of submission and then discarded. We will return unused portions, if requested and a shipping account is provided. Please provide this information during the submission process.

Excess water samples (DIC and DOC) are archived for one month following analysis and then discarded. If you would like the sample containers returned please provide your request and a shipping account during submission through the Web Portal.


Our laboratory follows the UNESCO convention on trade in antiquities (Hajdas et al.). Objects of antiquities are not the specialty of NOSAMS but may be accepted if accompanied with the proper forms. Please provide the following documents with your submission: (1) Sample Declaration (2) Declaration of Ownership (3) picture of the object and (4) documentation of objects provenance. Objects without proof of legal status will not be accepted.