Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

A multidisciplinary national resource

LLNL is a national laboratory organized to facilitate multidisciplinary sharing of facilities and equipment among its staff. Resource facilities at LLNL include laboratories for sample preparation, chemical separations, physical analysis, and cell culture.

An image of a mass spectrometer.

We have situated a National Electrostatics Corporation 250kV accelerator mass spectrometer in our biomedical laboratory. This spectrometer represents the latest evolution in AMS technology. This high voltage power deck will afford easier and less expensive operation, with a much smaller footprint over traditional AMS systems. This system has been configured to take advantage of our new liquid sample AMS interface instrumentation to provide directly-coupled liquid sample AMS measurement. We have a dedicated HPLC instrument for use on one of our liquid sample interfaces. This HLPC is configured so the eluent flow is split between the liquid sample interface and a conventional mass spectrometer. We have also optimized another interface for analysis of liquid drops of material. Importantly, as this system is situated in a biological/clinical setting that can be configured as a BSL-2 laboratory, it can analyze samples that are considered Risk Group 2, such as human plasma and urine samples.

Another spectrometer is available through the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS): a 10-MV FN tandem accelerator capable of terminal voltages up to 10 MV with AMS measurement capabilities developed for 3H, 10Be, 14C, 26Al, 36Cl, 41Ca, 129I, and 239Pu. A 1.7 MV tandem proton accelerator for nuclear microscopy that can measure the masses of microgram to picogram quantities of materials is also situated at CAMS.

Our other capabilities include:

  • HPLC separation, including a Waters Acquity UPLC system and a Waters Alliance HPLC system.
  • Radioisotope labeling of cells in our cell culture lab.
  • Screening of samples that potentially have too much 14C for AMS quantitation, using a Perkin Elmer Tri-Carb 2910TR liquid scintillation counter.
  • Conversion of radiocarbon-tagged biologicals to filamentous graphite in our dedicated graphite laboratory.