A versatile gas interface for routine radiocarbon analysis with a gas ion source

Wacker, L.; Fahrni, Simon; Hajdas, I.; Molnar, M.; Synal, H. A.; Szidat, Sönke; Zhang, Yanlin (2013). A versatile gas interface for routine radiocarbon analysis with a gas ion source. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 294, pp. 315-319. Elsevier 10.1016/j.nimb.2012.02.009

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In 2010 more than 600 radiocarbon samples were measured with the gas ion source at the MIni CArbon DAting System (MICADAS) at ETH Zurich and the number of measurements is rising quickly. While most samples contain less than 50 mu g C at present, the gas ion source is attractive as well for larger samples because the time-consuming graphitization is omitted. Additionally, modern samples are now measured down to 5 per-mill counting statistics in less than 30 min with the recently improved gas ion source. In the versatile gas handling system, a stepping-motor-driven syringe presses a mixture of helium and sample CO2 into the gas ion source, allowing continuous and stable measurements of different kinds of samples. CO2 can be provided in four different ways to the versatile gas interface. As a primary method. CO2 is delivered in glass or quartz ampoules. In this case, the CO2 is released in an automated ampoule cracker with 8 positions for individual samples. Secondly, OX-1 and blank gas in helium can be provided to the syringe by directly connecting gas bottles to the gas interface at the stage of the cracker. Thirdly, solid samples can be combusted in an elemental analyzer or in a thermo-optical OC/EC aerosol analyzer where the produced CO2 is transferred to the syringe via a zeolite trap for gas concentration. As a fourth method, CO2 is released from carbonates with phosphoric acid in septum-sealed vials and loaded onto the same trap used for the elemental analyzer. All four methods allow complete automation of the measurement, even though minor user input is presently still required. Details on the setup, versatility and applications of the gas handling system are given. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Fahrni, Simon, Szidat, Sönke, Zhang, Yanlin


500 Science > 540 Chemistry








Brigitte Oggier

Date Deposited:

28 Jul 2014 11:54

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Gas ion source, Small samples, Gas ion source, Radiocarbon, Accelerator mass spectrometry, AMS





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