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Enrichment of carbon-14 by selective laser photolysis of formaldehyde

Abstract

Using a frequency-doubled dye laser, simultaneous high-resolution spectra of14CH2O and12CH2O between 290 and 345 nm were measured. About 30 lines with spectral selectivities for14C≳50 were found. Photolyses on one such line at 326.94 nm of a dilute mixture of14CH2O in natural CH2O gave one-step enrichment factors of up to 150, with μg yields of enriched product. Since a factor of 150 in14C concentration corresponds to ∼7.2 half lives or 41,000 years, laser enrichment of archaeological samples, especially when combined with direct detection methods of14C abundance measurement, can greatly improve the range of radiocarbon dating.

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Hedges, R.E.M., Ho, P. & Moore, C.B. Enrichment of carbon-14 by selective laser photolysis of formaldehyde. Appl. Phys. 23, 25–32 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00899566

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  • 82.50