A gas ion source for continuous-flow AMS
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The first gas-fed ion source for radiocarbon AMS applications (without sputtering) has been operated at the Woods Hole NOSAMS Facility. A three-year, off-line test program resulted in positive carbon ion currents up to 1 mA and negative ion currents up to 80 muA. Recently, the compact, permanent-magnet microwave plasma ion source and magnesium vapor charge-exchange canal were coupled to the recombinator injector of the 2.5 MV Tandetron. When the ion source was operated on CO2 at a flow rate of about 200 mul per minute, negative carbon ion beams up to 20 muA were obtained, at an energy of 35 keV. Radiocarbon measurements were performed on standard reference gases and the dynamic response to square-wave pulses of gas was determined. Time constants in the ion source are less than 1 s, which should allow analysis of chromatographic peaks of CO2 with very little broadening. A combustion device has been constructed to generate CO2 for direct injection into the source. Argon carrier gas is used to buffer the pressure at one atmosphere in the sample gas injector. A dedicated ion-beam injector, with higher angular acceptance and higher transmitted currents, is being constructed for the AMS system. (C) 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.