AMS Systems

Pelletron Systems for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is an ultra sensitive technique for measuring isotopic ratios. It is typically used for determining the ratio of the abundant to rare isotopes of beryllium, carbon, aluminum, chlorine, iodine and many others. With a sensitivity of better than 1 out of 1015 for carbon, it is far more sensitive than all other mass spectrometry techniques. It has the advantages of allowing the use of a smaller sample, faster analysis time and greater sensitivity than other mass spectrometry or decay counting techniques.

National Electrostatics offers several models of AMS systems depending upon the range of versatility required, throughput required and space available.

The Compact AMS Systems are designed for use in limited space while still providing high precision. In addition, it can be equipped with the 134 MC-SNICS ion source to allow the processing of up to 400 samples per day to 2% precision for modern carbon. Both the Universal AMS (UAMS) and the Carbon AMS (CAMS) systems are based on the Pelletron tandem with the bakable, all metal/ceramic tube.

NEC also provides a wide range of high terminal voltage, Versatile Systems for the determination of the isotopic ratios of beryllium, carbon, aluminum, chlorine, iodine and others.

NEC AMS systems are available in both simultaneous and sequential injection with ion sources for both solid and gas samples. All NEC AMS systems are fully computer controlled with both on line and off line data analysis.

For more information, please see Principles of Operation.

Single Stage AMS Systems

NEC has developed and tested the new carbon AMS system using on a New Principle of Operation. The single stage AMS system is based on an open air 250 kV deck. After a full year of testing, the results show that the single stage AMS approaches the precisions available from the compact carbon AMS system without the complexity of an SF6 filled pressure vessel.

The first system has been installed at the Radiocarbon Laboratory of the GeoBiosphere Center in Lund, Sweden. It is equipped with a dual ion source injector containing two forty sample MC-SNICS for both archeological and post modern samples. Other configurations are available.

The initial results of the single stage AMS system was reported at the 18th International Radiocarbon Conference in Wellington, New Zealand, September 2003 (preprint).

Results of factory testing of the Lund system are being presented at the 8th European Conference on Accelerators in Applied Research and Technology (ECAART8) (preprint).


"Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Ultrasensitive Analysis for Global Science," Tuniz, C., Bird, J.R., Fink, D., and Herzog, G.F., CRC Press, 1998.

"Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Its Applications," Fifield, L.K. Reports on Progress in Physics 62 (1999) 1223 - 1274.

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Last revised April 17, 2007 by Stephanie Kerber,
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