Client services

The Keck-CCAMS facility was set up to expand UC and US capabilities for 14C measurements in support of research into the carbon cycle and its links to climate. One of the aims was to minimize measurement cost by emphasizing large scale projects plus encouraging users to carry out sample processing at their own institutions. Researchers from other fields or submitters with fewer than ten samples of the same type (e.g. carbonates or wood) are encouraged to contact other AMS facilities or commercial dating services: small batches or samples from other fields will be run by special arrangement only. Contact information for other laboratories can be found at the Radiocarbon journal web site, at

Submission process

To send samples to Keck-CCAMS at the UC Irvine for analysis, the following steps are required:

Submitters, and in particular those making their first application, must make contact with the laboratory to discuss their requirements prior to actually submitting samples. See contacts for more info.

A submission form plus a sample list provided must be filled out (see guidance document) for each group of samples submitted and sent to us via mail, fax or e-mail. A hard copy of both must also accompany the samples.

The AMS prep. laboratory is currently equipped to handle routine processing of charcoal, wood, seed, carbonates, animal remains, etc. However, it is up to the submitter to define and select the materials to be dated: for example, since you know your samples far better than we do, it’s your job to pick out the macrofossils or charcoal to be dated from within the sediment or peat matrix. Specialized services such as pollen or foram picking or individual compound separation are not offered. We discourage the dating of bulk soil, peat, or sediments, because those materials are often a mixture of components with widely differing ages. The preferred minimum sample size for a 14C measurement is 1 mg carbon. The sample sizes quoted in the table below will yield approximately this amount, if the samples are well preserved. If this is not the case, more sample material will be required.


Typical Sample Sizes for
AMS-Radiocarbon Dating

Carbon dioxide 2cc (STP)
Carbon-rich organic material  
     Not requiring pre-treatment (dry weight) 2.5 mg
     For pre-treatment:  
          Wood, charcoal, Seeds,. Macrofossils 5 mg
          Lake sediments and peat 10 mg
Carbonates (not requiring leaching)  
     Shells, Forams, Corals, etc 10 mg
    Bone (well preserved) 25 mg
     Collagen 2.5 mg

For low-carbon organic material the carbon content can vary widely and no estimate for the preferred minimum sample size can be given. Note that smaller sample sizes can be dated at a reduced precision. For more details contact us.

It is important to try to avoid storage and packing methodologies that may contaminate your sample. Please follow the guidelines described below:

_____Never store material under conditions that might allow fungal or bacterial growth: If possible, try to keep samples frozen or dry.
_____Never handle samples in, or use implements and tools from, labs where tracer 14C might have been used.
_____Wrap and label each sample individually.
_____ Avoid wrapping samples in paper, or packing in containers that are lubricated with oil, waxes or any other organic materials. We prefer to receive samples in small glass or plastic vials, or wrapped in aluminum foil.

If you intend to send samples to us and there is any possibility that somebody could have used 14C tracer in your facility (even in the past) contact us first. If necessary we will send you a monitoring kit for swiping your laboratory and suspect areas, to test for tracer contaminations. This procedure is important for avoiding serious consequences involving contamination of your samples and our laboratory.  Check Swipe Protocol (PDF file) for more information. Also check the useful tips to avoid 14C tracer epidemics (PDF file).

If samples require additional processing, the submitter will be informed of the added cost before work proceeds.

Results are routinely corrected for isotopic fractionation using AMS-measured delta 13C ratios, but precise IRMS delta 13C measurements can be provided at additional cost. In this case, try to include at least an additional 10% of raw material.  Check price list for more information.

Unused sample material will be not being archived or returned, except by special arrangement.

Shipments from U.S. and Canada, we recommend shipping by airmail, priority mail, or courier. Foreign shipments should be sent by airmail  or international air courier. All samples which must pass through U.S. Customs should be clearly labeled on outside pack “SCIENTIFIC SAMPLES – NO COMMERCIAL VALUE”. Each shipment should contain a packing list of samples inside the main box, including the name and address of the shipper. In addition, the identification code of the sample, laboratory sample code (when sample was previous treated outside our lab), type of material and any other relevant information.

Our prices for sample preparation and AMS measurement  vary depend on the submitter (UC /non-UC), sample material, pretreatment required, etc. See our price list or contact us.

For payment, see billing and payment procedures.

Please contact us for any question or further details.

IMPORTANT: Do not send any sample before contacting the Keck-CCAMS personnel.


Guidance document

Please fill out the sample submission form and provide the following additional information:

  1. Brief (a few sentences) description of the project including overall objectives, reason for 14C measurements, any relevant previous dating work, etc.
  2. Brief description of sampling methodology and any pre-treatment already applied (eg, forams picked from marine sediments, sonicated in alcohol, etc).
  3. Sample list: your lab number for each sample; a descriptive ID if is available (containing eg, stratigraphic information, species/sample material, etc – core 58PC, 325 cm , bulloides); sample type (CO2, macrofossil, graphite, HPLC fraction, etc); measured or estimated carbon content; approximate expected age (eg bomb 14C, modern, Holocene, ca. 40ka, etc).
  4. Assessment of possible problems in interpretation, if applicable.


For Terrestrial Carbon Cycle applications:

Claudia Czimczik
czimczik@uci.eduXiaomei Xu
Keck – CCAMS Group
Earth System Science Department
2222B Croul Hall
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3100Phone: +1 949 824 3444 (Lab)

For Ocean Sciences applications:

Ellen Druffel
edruffel@uci.eduSheila Griffin
Keck – CCAMS Group
Earth System Science Department
2212B Croul Hall
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3100Phone: +1 949 824 3286 (Lab)

For Paleoclimatology, Paleoceanography and other applications:

John Southon
jsouthon@uci.eduGuaciara dos Santos
Keck – CCAMS Group
Earth System Science Department
B321 Croul Hall
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3100Phone: +1 949 824 3674 (Lab)



Price List

UC Staff rates

Non-UC, non-profit

Non-UC, commercial

Sample Cleaning and chemical pretreatment $50.00 $75.00 $85.00
Combustion $30.00 $45.00 $55.00
Sample cleaning and hydrolysis $40.00 $60.00 $70.00
Gas samples:      
CO2extraction from air $60.00 $90.00 $100.00
Conversion of graphite (all sample types) $40.00 $60.00 $90.00
14C measurement (all sample types) $80.00 $120.00 $180.00
IRMS 13C measurement (all samples) $10.00 $30.00 40.00


Billing and Payment Procedures

Submitters should arrange for a purchase order to be sent to the Keck-CCAMS contact. The account officer will then send an invoice when the results are completed.


W. M. Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Facility 
Department of Earth System Science
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3100, USA

Paleoclimate &
Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

J. Southon (
H. Martinez De La Torre (
G. Santos (
B321 Croul Hall
Phone: +1 949 824-3674

Marine Biogeochemistry
E. Druffel (
S. Griffin (
2212 Croul Hall
Phone: +1 949 824-3286

Terrestrial Biogeochemistry,
Aerosol & MICADAS

X. Xu (
C. Czimczik (
G. Santos (
2222 & 2313 Croul Hall
Phone: +1 949 824-3444