Measurements of carbon-14 with cavity ring-down spectroscopy

A. D. McCartt, T. Ognibene, G. Bench, Ken W Turteltaub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is the most sensitive method for quantitation of 14C in biological samples. This technology has been used in a variety of low dose, human health related studies over the last 20 years when very high sensitivity was needed. AMS helped pioneer these scientific methods, but its expensive facilities and requirements for highly trained technical staff have limited their proliferation. Quantification of 14C by cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) offers an approach that eliminates many of the shortcomings of an accelerator-based system and would supplement the use of AMS in biomedical research. Our initial prototype, using a non-ideal wavelength laser and under suboptimal experimental conditions, has a 3.5-modern, 1-σ precision for detection of milligram-sized, carbon-14-elevated samples. These results demonstrate proof of principle and provided a starting point for the development of a spectrometer capable of biologically relevant sensitivities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-280
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
StatePublished - Oct 15 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon-14
  • CRDS
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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