Status report of the Radiocarbon and Mass Spectrometry Laboratory in Gliwice, Poland

A/Prof. Natalia Piotrowska1, Dr Marzena Kłusek1, A/Prof. Danuta J.  Michczyńska1, A/Prof. Adam Michczyński1, Dr Fatima Pawełczyk, A/Prof. Sławomira Pawełczyk, Dr Jacek Pawlyta1, A/Prof. Andrzej Rakowski1, A/Prof. Barbara Sensuła1, Dr Konrad Tudyka1

1Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Physics-CSE, Division of Environmental Isotopes, Gliwice, Poland

The Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory was established in 1967 by Prof. Włodzimierz Mościcki, a pioneer in the ¹⁴C measurements with gas proportional counters. Since then, the unit instantly developed and at present is officially distinguished in the University structure as the Radiocarbon and Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, a part of the Division of Environmental Isotopes at the Institute of Physics – Centre for Science and Education. Another unit within the Division is a Luminescence Dating Laboratory, and both lab teams naturally cooperate to solve scientific questions in various disciplines: Earth and environmental sciences, physics, and archaeology. The present human potential of the Laboratory are 12 permanent employees, including 9 persons in the scientific positions and 3 technicians.

The equipment of Laboratory fills the space area of ca. 400 m². Fully furnished chemical preparation rooms are equipped with fume boards, water demineralisers, analytical and micro- balances, ultrasonic baths, lyophiliser, microscope etc. Most important equipment is:
1. AMS Laboratory (responsible: Natalia Piotrowska):
-Automated graphitisation equipment AGE-3 (IonPlus AG)
-VarioMicro EA for combustion of organic samples
-Manual tube cracker for CO₂ introduction
-Vacuum line for carbonate decomposition and CO₂ purification
-AMS MICADAS (IonPlus AG) spectrometer scheduled to be installed in 1st quarter of 2022

2. LSC Laboratory (responsible: Adam Michczyński):
-Two Quantulus 1220 spectrometers
-Two ICELS spectrometers
-Prototype multi-chamber scintillation spectrometer for rapid measurements of low radioactivities
-Vacuum lines for sample combustion and conversion to benzene
-Oxygen-flow line with two ovens: two-zone oven Czylok PRS-50, infra-red oven Behr IRF-10 for stepped-combustion

3. Mass Spectrometry Laboratory (responsible: Jacek Pawlyta):
-Continuous-flow IRMS IsoPrime for HCNO isotope composition determination
-Elemental analyser EuroVector EA3000 for analysis of solid samples with combustion or pyrolysis
-MultiFlow device for preparation of water and carbonate samples

In addition, the field sampling equipment is available: Wardenaar and Russian (instorf) coring devices for sediment sampling and drills for tree-ring coring. The LINTAB equipment for tree-ring width measurement was recently upgraded with a new microscope.

At present state the Radiocarbon and Mass Spectrometry Laboratory carries out yearly ca. 400 radiocarbon dates and a similar number of stable isotope determinations, for the research projects in cooperation with national and international teams and external orders.

Most important projects carried out in the Laboratory:
1) Centre for Isotope Methods CEMIZ (designed to AMS spectrometer installation); leader: Natalia Piotrowska
2) Laboratory for Research and Analysis of Working Conditions of Industrial Professions; leader: Adam Michczyński
3) Archives of Spatial and Temporal Evolution of environmental Contamination related to mining and smelting activities in Upper Silesia, Poland; leader: Jarosław Sikorski
4) Abrupt increase of radiocarbon concentration due to high Sun activities in VIII and X century AD based on measurements in annual tree rings; leader: Andrzej Z. Rakowski
5) Chronology of the Inca expansion in Cordillera de Vilcabamba (Peru); leader: Andrzej Z. Rakowski
6) Multi-proxy investigations and advanced methods of determining numerical time scales in the reconstruction of the evolution of inland dunes in Poland during the end of the last glaciation; leader: Piotr Moska
7) Smaller research and commercial projects: ca 30/year


MSc in Technical Physics at the Silesian University of Technology (2000), PhD in physical sciences (2005), habilitation in geology (2016, Jagiellonian University). Head of the Radiocarbon and Mass Spectrometry Laboratory in Gliwice, Poland. Main research topics: various applications of radiocarbon method, time scale modelling, stable isotopes, climate change.

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Nov 08 - 19 2021