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Preparation of carbon samples for 14C dating by the AMS technique


The Radiocarbon Laboratory of the Rudjer Boskovic Institute (RBI) in Zagreb has long experience in 14C dating. Since 1969 we have used the gas proportional counter technique with sample conversion to methane, and since 2002 the liquid scintillation counting technique with either benzene synthesis or direct absorption of CO2 obtained from the sample.

These techniques require 2-5 g of carbon. In order to expand our activities to very small samples of the size of mg, we plan to develop preparation of carbon (graphite) from small samples for 14C dating and to measure the prepared graphite targets in one of the AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy) facilities in Europe, namely UGLA-SUERC (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, University of Glasgow, UK). To achieve this, we are looking for training of our staff in the UGLA-SUERC AMS laboratory, and for a short-term temporary job position for software specialist who would upgrade our preparation and measurement systems.

We also plan to host an expert in AMS dating (from UGLA-SUERC) who could transfer his knowledge and experience, and to perform intercomparison studies of samples prepared in our Laboratory and in the UGLA-SUERC. We ask also for some small pieces of equipment, spare parts, standard samples of known 14C activity and chemicals, with the aim of reinforcing research potential of the Laboratory. The proposal is structured into 6 work packages.

The expected results are: a fully operational graphite preparation line in the RBI Laboratory, establishment of co-operation with the UGLA-SUERC Laboratory for measurements of the graphite targets using their accelerator, training and career development of researchers in Croatia, improved competitiveness of the RBI Laboratory for future international projects, better opportunities for integration into the European Research Area (ERA), and creation of improved market opportunities for the research centre in WBC.

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