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High Precision 14C Analysis in Small Seawater Samples

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 August 2019

Núria Casacuberta*
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
Maxi Castrillejo
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
Anne-Marie Wefing
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, Environmental Physics, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Silvia Bollhalder
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
Lukas Wacker
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
*
*Corresponding author. Email: ncasacuberta@phys.ethz.ch.

Abstract

A new method to extract CO2 in seawater samples for the determination of F14C has been developed in the Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics at ETH Zurich. The setup consists of an automated sampler designed to extract dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from 7 samples in a row, by flushing the seawater with He gas to extract CO2. The fully automated method is controlled via a LabVIEW program that runs through all consecutive steps: catalyst preconditioning, CO2 extraction, CO2 trapping, thermal CO2 release from the trap into the reactor and finally the graphitization reaction which is performed simultaneously in the 7 reactors. The method was optimized by introducing a Cu-Ag furnace that was placed between the water and zeolite traps, which resulted in a better and faster graphitization performance (<2 hr) compared to previously used techniques. The method showed to be reproducible with an unprecedented precision of 1.7‰ even though consuming only 50–60 mL of seawater. The high throughput of 21 samples per day allows for coverage of future oceanographic transects with high spatial resolution, thus fostering the use of radiocarbon (14C) as water mass tracer.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2019 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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References

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