14C AMS at SUERC: improving QA data from the 5 MV tandem AMS and 250 kV SSAMS

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Naysmith, P. ; Cook, G. ; Freeman, S.P.H.T. ; Scott, E.M. ; Anderson, R. ; Xu, S. ; Dunbar, E. ; Muir, G.K.P. ; Dougans, A. ; Wilcken, K. ; Schnabel, C. ; Russell, N. ; Ascough, P.L. ; Maden, C. (2010)

In 2003, a National Electrostatics Corporation (NEC) 5MV tandem accelerator mass spectrometer was installed at SUERC, providing the radiocarbon laboratory with 14C measurements to 4–5‰ repeatability. In 2007, a 250kV single-stage accelerator mass spectrometer (SSAMS) was added to provide additional 14C capability and is now the preferred system for 14C analysis. Changes to the technology and to our operations are evident in our copious quality assurance data: typically, we now use the 134-position MC-SNICS source, which is filled to capacity. Measurement of standards shows that spectrometer running without the complication of on-line δ13C evaluation is a good operational compromise. Currently, 3‰ 14C/13C measurements are routinely achieved for samples up to nearly 3 half-lives old by consistent sample preparation and an automated data acquisition algorithm with sample random access for measurement repeats. Background and known-age standard data are presented for the period 2003–2008 for the 5MV system and 2007–2008 for the SSAMS, to demonstrate the improvements in data quality.
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