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Radiocarbon dating

Aeon's standard Radicoarbon Dating service includes standard carbonate or organic (ABA or acid only) pretreatment, carbon extraction, δ13C analysis, and AMS 14C measurement. See Methods & Procedures for details. Click here to view or download a sample report.

Biobased content analysis

Aeon employs ASTM D6866 test method B to determine the renewable biobased carbon content of products, fuels and combustion exhaust emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). See Biobased Content Testing for details. Click here to view or download a sample report.

Biobased carbonate surcharge

(Applies only to samples submitted for biobased content analysis.) If more than 3% of the carbon in a sample is present in the form of carbonates, ASTM D6866 requires two separate radiocarbon analyses to determine the biobased content. This surcharge covers the cost of the second analysis.

Wood cellulose extraction

The cellulose extraction service isolates and analyzes only the holocellulose fraction of the wood for analysis. In cases of extreme contamination concern, and when the sample quantity permits it, the holocellulose is further purified to α-cellulose. This optional service is detailed on the Methods & Procedures page.

Acid-base-wet oxidation (ABOX)

ABOX is an optional aggressive pretreatment process for well-preserved charcoal or graphite samples. See Methods & Procedures for details.

Bone pretreatment

Aeon's bone pretreatment service includes collagen extraction, denaturing to gelatin, and purification, as well as special testing and analyses required to reliably date bone. The service includes total nitrogen (%N) and carbon (%C) content of the cleaned original sample material and of the extracted and purified collagen residues ("gelatin"), and determination of the carbon/nitrogen ratio (C:N). These tests help determine the suitability of the sample for radiocarbon dating and provide indicators of test sample quality and the reliability of the radiocarbon age. This service is required in addition to the standard radiocarbon dating service when the sample material is bone, tooth, antler or similar samples. See Methods & Procedures for details of the bone pretreatment process.

Bone nitrogen & carbon content

Before pretreatment, bone and tooth samples are analyzed for total nitrogen content (%N) and total carbon content, to assess their suitability for radiocarbon dating. Samples containing less than 0.1% nitrogen are less likely to provide reliable radiocarbon ages, as are samples with initial C:N ratios greater than about 11. We will contact you if any of your samples fall into this category. If the processing of a sample is halted at this stage, this will be the only fee charged for the sample.

Solvent extraction

Samples contaminated with oil, glue or preservatives may require extended decontamination in various solvents. This service is generally performed upon request. If we believe your sample will benefit from a solvent extraction that you did not request on your sample information form, we will contact you for instruction before proceeding. See Methods & Procedures for details.

δ15N and δ13C analysis

Analysis of the stable N and C isotopic compositions in gelatin extracted from bone and tooth samples can be useful in many lines of research; for example, in paleoclimate or dietary studies, or for indicating trophic level. This service is performed only upon request. Please be aware that the turnaround time for this service is usually four to six weeks longer than the radiocarbon analysis.

Expedite service

Aeon reserves a certain amount of production capacity to serve our clients' most urgent needs. For an additional fee, Aeon can process your samples in as little as 14 days. Occasionally, during times of exceptionally high demand, the service may not be available, or it may be available for a limited number of samples. If you want to take advantage of this service, please contact us in advance.

Partial processing

The cost of partial processing depends on when the process is halted. If a sample is cancelled before carbon extraction, the pre-extraction fee applies. The post-extraction fee applies if a sample is cancelled after carbon extraction but before radiocarbon analysis. No fee is charged if a sample is cancelled before chemical isolation begins. See Sample Pretreatment and Analysis for an outline of the process steps.

Independent δ13C by IRMS

Stable isotope analysis (δ13C) is required for accurate radiocarbon measurements in order to account for a phenomenon called "fractionation." Modern accelerator systems simultaneously measure the 14C and the fractionation from the exact same material. The δ13C figure that appears on your radiocarbon dating report is the value measured on the AMS during the 14C measurement.

Although the AMS-measured δ13C is ideal for fractionation correction, it does not serve every other purpose of the δ13C equally well. For example, you may be interested in photosynthetic pathway or other biological processes that are also revealed by stable isotope analysis. For such purposes, a more accurate measure of the stable isotope ratio in the original sample material can be obtained by an analysis of the test sample's CO2 in a specialized instrument called an Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS).

Upon request, Aeon will reserve a tiny amount of a sample's CO2 and subject it to stable isotope analysis by IRMS. This analysis is conducted independently from radiocarbon dating. Please be aware that the turnaround time for this service is usually about two weeks longer than the radiocarbon analysis.

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