Address: 
Land and Water Research Building, 100 Hastings Rd. University Park, PA 16802

Description: The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) Radiocarbon 14C laboratory is dedicated to providing radiocarbon measurements on carbon-bearing materials spanning the last 45,000 years. The facility operates a modified National Electrostatics Corporation 500kV 1.5SDH-1 Compact Accelerator Mass Spectrometer optimized with a second einzel lens and solid ion source capable of routinely generating 12C beam currents in the range of 120-150 mA on small (0.3-0.7 mg C) samples, roughly twice the current of similar low energy AMS systems available to researchers. This allows for high precision measurements of small individual samples and reduces the need for bulk or mixed materials to generate sufficient carbon for measurements. Thus, changes in 14C can be measured in incremental growth samples, such as tree rings, marine shells, and speleothems, or in short-lived samples such as seeds, leaves, hair and other biologicals tissues.

The Radiocarbon Prep Laboratory at PSU includes both dry- and wet-lab areas for sample storage and preparation with standard laboratory equipment including a fume hood, Barnstead NanoPure water purifier, drying oven, freezer, freeze-dry lyophilizer and balances. Samples for AMS radiocarbon dating are prepared, combusted to CO2 gas and converted to graphite in the lab. Key equipment for radiocarbon sample prep includes Hettich Rotofix centrifuge, Virtis lyophilizer, Barnstead programmable muffle furnace, a vacuum line for sealing radiocarbon samples prior to combustion, and a 12-port graphitization line for hydrogen-reduction of graphite on iron powder catalyst. The lines are made with Swagelok Ultra-Torr fittings on stainless steel drawn by oil-free Pfeiffer turbo pumps, and have been modeled on lines in use at KCCAMS at the University of California, Irvine. The lab has been swiped for the presence of 14C tracer and maintains constant quality controls on radiocarbon processing with KCCAMS through use of international and internal known-age lab standards (e.g., OX-1, OX2, Prophet River Wood, Beaufort Whale, FIRI secondaries). AMS 14C measurements will be made on PSU AMS Radiocarbon Laboratory which is part of the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Laboratories (EESL).          

Radiocarbon Laboratory Rates Per Sample:

Sample Type

Internal Rate ($)

External Academic Rate ($)

External Non-Academic Rate ($)

Required Sample Treatment *

Graphite

86.78

138.72

143.06

No treatment

Carbon Dioxide

136.43

218.09

224.92

7

Carbonate Minerals

179.87

287.54

296.54

1, 7

Carbon (ready for combustion)

179.87

287.54

296.54

6, 7

Organic Carbon (requires pre-processing)

229.52

366.92

378.39

2, 6, 7

Bone for Ultrafiltration (incl. EA-IRMS)

423.47

676.96

698.14

2, 3, 4, 6, 7

Bone for Amino Acid Hydrolysis (incl. EA-IRMS)

496.40

793.54

818.36

2, 3, 5, 6, 7

* Required Sample Treatment: (1) Cleaning and hydrolysis; (2) Cleaning and ABA demineralization;

(3) Gelatinization (4) Ultrafiltration; (5) XAD purification; (6) Combustion; (7) Conversion to graphite.

NOTE: Rates per sample listed above include all required sample treatment

Radiocarbon Laboratory Staff: Our staff has extensive experience using radiocarbon in diverse fields including archaeology, paleontology, paleoecology, and climate reconstruction; collaborating on interdisciplinary projects with results published in Science, Nature Geoscience, PNAS, Quaternary Science Reviews and Quaternary Research, among others. Our interdisciplinary focus allows us to help researchers in developing research designs, sampling strategies, and analysis of radiocarbon data at every stage of their projects from conception to conclusion.

Sample Submission:

COVID-19 RETURN TO RESEARCH

During COVID-19 pandemic and the return to research, please use the Submission Form for samples.

Instruments in this Facility