The primary instrumentation used for determination of radiocarbon (14C) content is the accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS). The CAIS has two such instruments; a NEC 500KV tandem Pelletron accelerator and a NEC 250KV single stage accelerator. Both capable of achieving precisions of 0.35% and detection of 14C content on 20 micrograms of carbon. Most Natural Product testing will provide enough sample for optimized testing. However, the occasional small sample size, 20 micrograms, such as extracted from chromatographic techniques, can be processed and analyzed in these accelerator mass spectrometers.
Approximately ten thousand samples are processed and analyzed annually in the CAIS accelerator facility. Nearly half of these samples are natural products in search of their true identity. In concert with the AMS instrumentation, measurement of the stable isotope ratios of carbon and hydrogen (δ13C and δD) are accomplished using Thermo Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometers.
In 2015, the CAIS pursued international recognition to become the first University Research Center accredited under the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard. The CAIS became ISO17025:2005 accredited in April, 2016 and has maintained the high level of quality and integrity in their testing under Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation number 87144. The Natural Products and Biobase testing labs are now accredited to ISO/IEC17025:2017.
The Center for Applied Isotope Studies is and always has been a tracer-free facility: we do not accept, handle, graphitize or count samples containing Tracer or Labeled (Hot) 14C due to the risk of cross-contamination.