Graphitization of small carbonate samples for palaeoceanographic research at the Godwin Radiocarbon Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Freeman, E. and Skinner, L. C. and Reimer, R. and Scrivner, A. E. and Fallon, S. (2015) Graphitization of small carbonate samples for palaeoceanographic research at the Godwin Radiocarbon Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Radiocarbon: an international journal of cosmosgenic isotopic research, 58 (1). pp. 89-97. ISSN ISSN: 0033-8222 DOI 10.1017/RDC.2015.8

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1017/RDC.2015.8

Abstract

A new radiocarbon preparation facility was set up in 2010 at the Godwin Laboratory for Palaeoclimate Research, at the University of Cambridge. Samples are graphitized via hydrogen reduction on an iron powder catalyst before being sent to the Chrono Centre, Belfast, or the Australian National University for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) analysis. The experimental set-up and procedure have recently been developed to investigate the potential for running small samples of foraminiferal carbonate. By analysing background values of samples ranging from 0.04-0.6mgC along with similar sized secondary standards, the set-up and experimental procedures were optimised for small samples. ‘Background’ modern radiocarbon contamination has been minimised through careful selection of iron powder, and graphitization has been optimised through the use of ‘small volume’ reactors, allowing samples containing as little as 0.08mgC to be graphitized and accurately dated. Graphitization efficiency/fractionation is found not to be the main limitation on the analysis of samples smaller than 0.07mgC, which rather depends primarily on AMS ion beam optics, suggesting further improvements in small sample analysis might yet be achieved with our methodology.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2015AREP; IA69;
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
08 - Green Open Access
Journal or Publication Title: Radiocarbon: an international journal of cosmosgenic isotopic research
Volume: 58
Page Range: pp. 89-97
Identification Number: 10.1017/RDC.2015.8
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 16:08
Last Modified: 31 May 2017 16:53
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3497

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