Scientific Results

Spectroscopic detection of radiocarbon dioxide at parts-per-quadrillion sensitivity

Year: 2016

Authors: Galli I., Bartalini S., Ballerini R., Barucci M., Cancio P., De Pas M., Giusfredi G., Mazzotti D., Akikusa N., De Natale P.

Autors Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO)—CNR, Via Carrara 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino FI, Italy; European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy (LENS), Via Carrara 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino FI, Italy; Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO)—CNR, Largo Fermi 6, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy; Development Bureau Laser Device R&D Group, Hamamatsu Photonics KK, Shizuoka 434-8601, Japan

Abstract: High-sensitivity radiocarbon detection has been, until now, a prerogative of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Here we present a compact and simple spectroscopic apparatus, based on saturated-absorption cavity ring-down, approaching the ultimate AMS sensitivity. We measure radiocarbon dioxide concentration down to a few parts per quadrillion by use of a heterodyne-spectroscopy system with two quantum cascade lasers at 4.5 mu m, a reference cell, and a high-finesse cavity with the sample gas cooled down to 170 K. Our results pave the way to a paradigm change in radiocarbon measurement, with a number of significant applications in areas such as environment, nuclear security, pharmacology, and cultural heritage. (C) 2016 Optical Society of America

Journal/Review: OPTICA

Volume: 3 (4)      Pages from: 385  to: 388

More Information: Programma Nazionale di Ricerche in Antartide (PNRA) (project 2013/AC4.01); ESFRI Roadmap Project “Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI); EU 7th Framework Program 284464.
KeyWords: Light measurement; Mass spectrometry; Quantum cascade lasers, Accelerator mass spectrometry; Cultural heritages; Heterodyne spectroscopy; High sensitivity; High-finesse cavity; Nuclear security; Saturated absorptions; Spectroscopic detection, Absorption spectroscopy
DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.3.000385

Citations: 36
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English