The University of Arizona

Upgrade of the CO2 Direct Absorption Method for Low-Level 14C Liquid Scintillation Counting

Chiara Canducci, Paolo Bartolomei, Giuseppe Magnani, Antonietta Rizzo, Angela Piccoli, Laura Tositti, Massimo Esposito


A new system for CO2 absorption and liquid scintillation counting (LSC) was designed and developed along with its inherent measurement protocol for radiocarbon analysis in gaseous emissions, fuels, and biobased products. CO2 is chemically trapped as a carbamate in a suitable absorbing solution (3-methoxy-propyl-amine), gravimetrically measured, and analyzed by LSC (using a Quantulus™ 1220) to determine the 14C content. The use of cryogenic traps and a pressure transducer in the system prevents the need for closed-loop recirculation or additional steps to maximize CO2 capture in a short amount of time. The choice of PTFE vials used both for CO2 pretreatment and subsequent LSC analysis provides the opportunity to significantly reduce the background counting down to 40% with respect to the low-40K glass vials. This upgrade resulted in improving the maximum detectable age back to 36,000 yr BP in routine measurements. This method therefore turns out to be flexible enough to be applied for 14C dating as well as to differentiate between modern and fossil carbon.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16319


direct absorption; LSC; PTFE vial

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