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Trace Element Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

Ion-Beam Techniques

  1. Floyd Del McDaniel

Published Online: 12 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/0471266965.com090.pub2

Characterization of Materials

Characterization of Materials

How to Cite

McDaniel, F. D. 2012. Trace Element Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. Characterization of Materials. 1–26.

Author Information

  1. Ion Beam Modification and Analysis Laboratory, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 12 OCT 2012


Accelerator mass spectrometry is a relatively new analytical technique that is being used in over 40 laboratories worldwide for the measurements of cosmogenic long-lived radioisotopes, as a tracer in biomedical applications, and for trace element analysis of stable isotopes. The use of particle accelerators, along with mass spectrometric methods, has allowed low-concentration measurements of small-volume samples. The use of AMS to directly count ions, rather than measure radiation from slow radioactive decay processes in larger samples, has resulted in sensitivities of one part in 1015. The ions are accelerated to mega-electron-volt energies and can be detected with 100% efficiency in particle detectors. The improved sensitivities and smaller sample sizes have resulted in a wide variety of applications in anthropology, archaeology, astrophysics, biomedical sciences, climatology, ecology, geology, glaciology, hydrology, materials science, nuclear physics, oceanography, sedimentology, terrestrial studies, and volcanology, among others. Accelerator mass spectrometry has opened new areas of research in the characterization of trace elements in materials.

This article will focus on the technique of trace element accelerator mass spectrometry (TEAMS) and its applications in the analysis of stable isotopes in materials.


  • accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS);
  • trace element accelerator mass spectrometry (TEAMS)