Assessment of oxygen plasma ashing as a pre-treatment for radiocarbon dating

Bird, M.I., Charville-Mort, P.D.J., Ascough, P.L. , Wood, R., Higham, T.F.G. and Apperley, D. (2009) Assessment of oxygen plasma ashing as a pre-treatment for radiocarbon dating. Quaternary Geochronology, (doi: 10.1016/j.quageo.2009.10.004)

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This study investigates the potential of low-temperature oxygen plasma ashing as a technique for decontaminating charcoal and wood samples prior to radiocarbon dating. Plasma ashing is demonstrated to be rapid, controllable and surface-specific, and clear differences are identified in the rate of ashing in different organic materials. However, the ability of plasma ashing to selectively remove these different components is limited in heterogeneous sample matrices. This is because oxidation is confined to the immediate sample surface. Comparison of radiocarbon dates obtained from identical aliquots of contaminated ancient charcoal pre-treated by acid-base-acid (ABA), acid-base-oxidation-stepped combustion (ABOx-SC) and plasma ashing suggests that the technique performs as well as the ABA pre-treatment but does not remove as much contamination as the ABOx-SC technique. Plasma-ashing may be particularly useful in cases where sample size is limiting.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ascough, Dr Philippa
Authors: Bird, M.I., Charville-Mort, P.D.J., Ascough, P.L., Wood, R., Higham, T.F.G., and Apperley, D.
Subjects:R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Quaternary Geochronology
Published Online:16 October 2009
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2009 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Quaternary Geochronology
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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