Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) for beryllium-7 measurements in smallest rainwater samples

  • Collin Tiessen
  • Daniel Bemmerer
  • Georg Rugel
  • Rebecca Querfeld
  • Andreas Scharf
  • Georg Steinhauser
  • Silke MerchelEmail author


Beryllium-7, mainly measured via γ-spectrometry, is used as a (natural) radiotracer for education and science. For activities < 0.1 Bq and samples containing also longer-lived 10Be, accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is the method-of-choice. We demonstrate that 7Be and 10Be can be quantified at the Dresden AMS facility on the same prepared BeO. Detection limits (7Be) are ~ 0.6 mBq. Samples as small as tens of millilitres of rainwater can be chemically processed (after acidification) within a few hours without expensive and slow ion exchange. Isobar (7Li) suppression by chemistry and AMS is sufficient to guarantee for an ultrasensitive, cheap, and fast detection method for 7Be allowing high sample throughput.


7Be 10Be Accelerator mass spectrometry AMS Rainwater Atmospheric tracer 



We thank Gyürky György (Institute for Nuclear Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Debrecen, Hungary) for production of the 7Be calibration materials. Parts of this research were carried out at the Ion Beam Centre (IBC) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf e. V., a member of the Helmholtz Association. We would like to thank Dominik Güttler, René Ziegenrücker and the DREAMS operator team for supporting the AMS-measurements. Discussion with Andrew Smith (ANSTO) is highly appreciated. Funding from BMBF (05K16MG1) and DAAD-RISE Professional (HZDR-PH-456) allowed Collin Tiessen to stay two times at HZDR to work on this study.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-RossendorfDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Radioecology and Radiation ProtectionLeibniz Universität HannoverHannoverGermany
  3. 3.Department of PhysicsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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