14C analysis via intracavity optogalvanic spectroscopy

Daniel Murnick, Ozgur Dogru, Erhan Ilkmen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A new ultra sensitive laser-based analytical technique, intracavity optogalvanic spectroscopy (ICOGS), allowing extremely high sensitivity for detection of 14C-labeled carbon dioxide has recently been demonstrated. Capable of replacing accelerator mass spectrometers (AMS) for many applications, the technique quantifies zeptomoles of 14C in sub micromole CO2 samples. Based on the specificity of narrow laser resonances coupled with the sensitivity provided by standing waves in an optical cavity, and detection via impedance variations, limits of detection near 10-15 14C/12C ratios have been obtained with theoretical limits much lower. Using a 15 W 14CO2 laser, a linear calibration with samples from 5 × 10-15 to >1.5 × 10-12 in 14C/12C ratios, as determined by AMS, was demonstrated. Calibration becomes non-linear over larger concentration ranges due to interactions between CO2 and buffer gas, laser saturation effects and changes in equilibration time constants. The instrument is small (table top), low maintenance and can be coupled to GC or LC input. The method can also be applied to detection of other trace entities. Possible applications include microdosing studies in drug development, individualized sub-therapeutic tests of drug metabolism, carbon dating and real time monitoring of atmospheric radiocarbon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-711
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


  • Accelerator mass spectrometry
  • Carbon 14 tracers
  • Laser based isotope analysis


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