The University of Arizona

The Radiocarbon Intracavity Optogalvanic Spectroscopy Setup at Uppsala

Gerriet Eilers, Anders Persson, Cecilia Gustavsson, Linus Ryderfors, Emad Mukhtar, Göran Possnert, Mehran Salehpour


Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is by far the predominant technology deployed for radiocarbon tracer studies. Applications are widespread from archaeology to biological, environmental, and pharmaceutical sciences. In spite of its excellent performance, AMS is expensive and complicated to operate. Consequently, alternative detection techniques for 14C are of great interest, with the vision of a compact, user-friendly, and inexpensive analytical method. Here, we report on the use of intracavity optogalvanic spectroscopy (ICOGS) for measurements of the 14C/12C ratio. This new detection technique was developed by Murnick et al. (2008). In the infrared (IR) region, CO2 molecules have strong absorption coefficients. The IR-absorption lines are narrow in line width and shifted for different carbon isotopes. These properties can potentially be exploited to detect 14CO2, 13CO2, or 12CO2 molecules unambiguously. In ICOGS, the sample is in the form of CO2 gas, eliminating the graphitization step that h is required in most AMS labs. The status of the ICOGS setup in Uppsala is presented. The system is operational but not yet fully developed. Data are presented for initial results that illustrate the dependence of the optogalvanic signal on various parameters, such as background and plasma-induced changes in the sample gas composition.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16226


Intracavity optogalvanic spectroscopy, radiocarbon laser spectroscopy, 14CO2 lasers, oscillatory reactions, CO oxidation

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