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Dr. Bill Jenkins

Dr. Ann McNichol

Dr. Mark Roberts

Dr. Karl von Reden

Workshop Focus

Emerging Capabilities in Compound-Specific Radiocarbon Analysis in the Oceans

Almost 35 years ago, the development of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) led to a revolution in the field of radiocarbon research by greatly reducing the size of the sample required and the time to obtain an analysis.  The technique, when used with solid-phase sputter sources, is well proven and is used routinely to contribute to paleoceanographic, physical oceanographic, and carbon cycle studies.  The advent of a true, gas ion-source continuous-flow AMS (GIS-CFAMS) provides new opportunities for the measurement of radiocarbon in ocean studies. Compared to traditional AMS, the key advantages of the new method are potentially fewer chemistry steps and continuous monitoring of a CO2 gas stream.

In some cases these advantages may outweigh the intrinsically lower system efficiency of the method. Interfacing devices such as gas and liquid chromatographs to a continuous-flow AMS presents significant technical challenges, but progress is being made.  This workshop will bring together those developing the new measurement techniques with those using the results to define the most promising areas of future research in both areas and to suggest new approaches and applications for GIS-CFAMS.

Participants in the workshop will be asked to contribute not only to the discussions, but also to the preparation of a summary document on the second day of the workshop.


  • Define current state of the art, limitations, and promises of both compound specific radiocarbon analyses and gas ion source based AMS.
  • Define important areas of research using current technologies.
  • Explore the capabilities, promise, and limitations of new techniques.
  • Define most promising areas of research using new techniques.


To encourage discussion, we will organize four sessions on Tuesday to discuss the above topics.  For each session, there will be a panel of experts guiding discussions with questions and with brief presentations from one or more members of the panel.


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Last updated May 5, 2010
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