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Preparation of Graphite Targets from Small Marine Samples for AMS Radiocarbon Measurements

  • Laval Liong Wee Kwong (a1), Pavel P Povinec (a1) and J A Timothy Jull (a2)

Abstract

A vacuum sample processing line was set up and methods were developed for the determination of radiocarbon in small-volume seawater and biota samples. Seawater samples (500 mL per borosilicate glass bottle and poisoned with HgCl2) were acidified with 5 mL concentrated hydrochloric acid. Pure N2 was used as a carrier gas to strip CO2 from the samples for 10 min in a circulation mode. After purification through several water traps, the CO2 was isolated cryogenically. Using Na2CO3 standard solutions, recovery yields were calculated superior to 95 ± 5%. Freeze-dried marine biota samples were thoroughly mixed with Cu(II)O and combusted at 900°. The CO2 was purified by passing through Ag wool and Cu granules at 450° before reduction to graphite. Finally, graphite was synthesized using Zn dust heated to 450° in the presence of an Fe catalyst at 550°. Although this method takes about 8 hr (synthesis done overnight), the advantage is that no water vapor by-product is formed to hinder the reaction. The graphite yields, measured both by gravimetric methods and by pressure readings, were 95 ± 5%. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurements were carried out at the NSF-Arizona AMS Facility. Results for water samples from the northwest Pacific Ocean are reported which are in agreement with data reported elsewhere.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Email address: p.povinec@iaea.org.

References

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