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SUERC AMS Laboratory

over 100,000 targets measured

Photo credit: Ellamentary Photography



Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is ultrasensitive isotope ratio mass spectrometry of small prepared samples. By accelerating sample atoms the ions can be characterised by combined conventional mass spectrometry and high-energy collisions within and after the accelerator. Isotopes typically measured include a handful of rare long-lived radionuclides. The AMS Laboratory specialises in environmental science measurement of these natural chronometers and tracers and undertakes research in pursuit of this.

The laboratory is equipped with two NEC accelerator mass spectrometers and three sputter ion sources accommodating solid samples. The general purpose 5 MV Pelletron has established capability for Be-10, C-14, Al-26, Cl-36, Ca-41 and I-129. The 250 kV Single Stage AMS (SSAMS) is for C-14 too but is bipolar and also makes experimental measurements of accelerated positive ions. Much analysis is done at the low ion energy limit of the technique, including use of ultrathin SiN detector entrance windows for heavy-ion analysis.

The AMS Laboratory performs about 8,000 analyses a year with collaborators including the SUERC Radiocarbon Laboratory, the NIEF Radiocarbon Facility (Environment), SUERC-Cosmo (includes NEIF-Cosmo) - all at SUERC - and the University of Edinburgh Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide Laboratory   Samples prepared further afield are also accepted.

The AMS group is Stewart FreemanDerek Fabel, Richard Shanks, Cameron McIntyre, Pauline Gulliver, Brian Tripney and Thomas Donoclift.

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