FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions about the laboratory and the services we provide. If you don't find the answers you are looking for please contact us.

Questions: 

How do I submit samples?

If you would like to submit samples for analyses you should begin by logging in to our secure portal using the button at the top of any page on this site. The portal enables you to create new orders, track the progress of existing orders as well as see results of previous orders. For your convenience you can log in using an existing social media account (e.g. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn) or you can set up a new account with us using your email address.

How large does a radiocarbon sample need to be?

This depends on the type of sample. We need 1mg of carbon to run an analysis but the carbon content of samples varies dramatically depending on type. Our sample submission page provides estimates of the ideal and minimum sample sizes to send. Our radiocarbon services page also contains a list of many samples types along with recommendations for sample size. If you are still unsure, please contact us.

Does your lab accept pharamaceutical samples with tracer radiocarbon?

We do not accept samples with artificially elevated radiocarbon to eliminate the risk of contamination.

How long does a radiocarbon analysis take?

A standard analysis typically takes 6-8 weeks from the arrival in the lab. We do offer a premium service to reduce the turnaround to 11-15 days. If you have a deadline that you need to meet please let us know when you submit your order and we will do our best to accommodate you.

I think my sample may be contaminated with ... What can I do?

We have a variety of methods for removing contaminants from samples prior to analysis. Samples that have been stored in museums are often treated with carbon containing glues, pesticides etc that can be successfully removed using soxhlet extractions. If you suspect your samples may be contaminated please contact us to discuss and make a note on your sample submission form.

How should I package and deliver my sample to you?

Instructions for packaging your samples will vary depending on the type of samples. For example, certain samples require the inclusion of our USDA permit. During the final step of the online order creation process you will be given a customized PDF containing detailed instructions on packaging and delivering your sample safely to the AMS lab.

What are my payment options?

We accept all major credit and debit cards. We can receive payment by check, international money order or bank transfer, however some of these have additional charges.

What size of sample do I need to submit?

It is important that you send a suitable size of sample. Radiocarbon measurements can be made on as little as 50 micrograms of carbon, but the required starting mass depends upon the carbon content of the material and the degree of preservation. If poor preservation is suspected, larger sample sizes are helpful. Suggested sample mass for specific sample types are given when entering your order into the online system.

Are there any restrictions or special procedures for soils or sediments?

Soil and sediment samples originating from outside the USA require a USDA permit to enter the United States. Full details of how to prepare specimens including who to contact to receive a permit are given in a PDF when you place your order.