3 years ago

Optical Measurement of Radiocarbon below Unity Fraction Modern by Linear Absorption Spectroscopy

Optical Measurement of Radiocarbon below Unity Fraction Modern by Linear Absorption Spectroscopy
Adam J. Fleisher, Lyn Gameson, Qingnan Liu, Joseph T. Hodges, David A. Long
High-precision measurements of radiocarbon (14C) near or below a fraction modern 14C of 1 (F14C ≤ 1) are challenging and costly. An accurate, ultrasensitive linear absorption approach to detecting 14C would provide a simple and robust benchtop alternative to off-site accelerator mass spectrometry facilities. Here we report the quantitative measurement of 14C in gas-phase samples of CO2 with F14C < 1 using cavity ring-down spectroscopy in the linear absorption regime. Repeated analysis of CO2 derived from the combustion of either biogenic or petrogenic sources revealed a robust ability to differentiate samples with F14C < 1. With a combined uncertainty of 14C/12C = 130 fmol/mol (F14C = 0.11), initial performance of the calibration-free instrument is sufficient to investigate a variety of applications in radiocarbon measurement science including the study of biofuels and bioplastics, illicitly traded specimens, bomb dating, and atmospheric transport.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02105

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02105

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