A self-made glass ampule cracker, coupled to an EA-IRMS-AGE3 system
Dr Lior Regev1, Eugenia Mintz1, Lilia Goffer1, Prof. Elisabetta Boaretto1
1Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
A glass ampule cracker is a common device in radiocarbon laboratories in order to extract gaseous samples. However, the growing popularity of the EA-AGE3 system (an elemental analyzer, coupled to the 3rd generation of automatic graphitization equipment, made by IonPlus company) makes the use of a tube cracker a rare occasion. Yet, when dealing with special sample pretreatments, such as step-combustion procedures, there are hardly any alternatives to using a tube cracker. Our laboratory uses an EA-IRMS-AGE3 system (also coupled to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer) for the past three years. As we would like to measure δ¹³C values of our gaseous samples, we designed a tube cracker that will connect to the elemental analyzer and enable us to transfer the gaseous CO₂ from the tube through the IRMS and into the AGE3 for graphitization. By connecting the cracker device to the EA through the quartz bridge between the combustion and reduction columns of the EA, we exploit the EA helium flow, water drying tube, and CO₂ adsorption column, as well as the system’s synchronized workflow with the IRMS and AGE3 instruments. The device is almost exclusively built of catalog parts of Swagelok, with mainly one custom-made component (the connector to the EA). We present the working procedure, some efficiency and background level results, and what is needed to build your own device.
Lior has a B.Sc. in molecular biochemistry and an M.Sc. in cellular biology. For his Ph.D. he shifted to microarchaeology and radiocarbon dating, studying calcite mineralogy, and the complexity of dating lime plasters and wood ash. Since 2013 he is in charge of the lab’s AMS system and the EA-IRMS-AGE3 instrumentation.