Making carbon-14 measurements
more accessible

Daniel McCartt

Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Pacific Forum—11:00 a.m.

Carbon-14 is a valuable tool used to probe the transport of carbonaceous species through oceanic, terrestrial, and biological systems. Due to its isotopic rarity, minute concentrations of carbon-14 labeled species can be detected. Historically, chemical targets were labeled with concentrations well above the terrestrial abundance and quantified with liquid scintillation counting (LSC). More recently, scientists have used the exceptional sensitivity of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to detect concentrations of carbon-14 below the terrestrial abundance. This presentation will discuss new cavity-enhanced, laser-based methods for carbon-14 detection. Our current system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) bridges the carbon-14 sensitivity gap between LSC and AMS, and more complex setups can compete with basic AMS detection levels. Current and theoretical applications will be discussed including biological case studies performed at LLNL.

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Next: September 6, James Lindholm


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