High throughput, high precision 14C AMS with a small accelerator
The costs of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) systems for radiocarbon measurements have dropped sharply in recent years, but at $1M to $1.3M, these instruments still represent major investments. However, these costs are not excessive for a facility producing several thousand high precision 14C analyses per year. Here we describe methods developed at the AMS laboratory at University of California Irvine (UC Irvine) for achieving high throughput at high precision. Key factors include: large-scale parallelism in sample preparation plus streamlining of sample pretreatment procedures; development of a robust and easily maintainable high output ion source; removal of data analysis bottlenecks; and training of laboratory personnel to ensure that several staff members can carry out critical functions.