Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Modifying a sealed tube zinc reduction method for preparation of AMS graphite targets: Reducing background and attaining high precision


The sealed tube zinc reduction method for converting CO2 to graphite for AMS 14C measurements was originally developed for rapid production of graphite in biomedical tracer experiments. The method was usually thought to have low precision and a high background. We have modified the zinc reduction method originally outlined in Vogel [J.S. Vogel, Radiocarbon 34 (3) (1992) 344] by carefully controlling the amounts of reagents (zinc, titanium hydride and Co or Fe catalyst) and now routinely obtain a precision of 2-3‰ and a relatively low background of ∼50,000 14C years when analyzing for 14C at the Keck Carbon Cycle AMS facility at UC Irvine. Fractionation of carbon isotopes does occur during graphitization and depends on the graphitization yield, which can be affected by the amounts of reagents used and other conditions. The δ13C of our zinc-reduced graphite is usually lighter by 2-3‰ than the CO2 from which it is made, but this is corrected for in our system by simultaneous measurement of 13C/12C along with 14C/12C by the spectrometer. This method is suitable for 14C enriched samples, as well as natural abundance 14C samples, especially those with modern 14C contents. With improved precision and background, we believe that many disciplines can benefit from this technique because of its low cost and rapid production of graphite. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View