Accelerator Laboratory

The André E. Lalonde Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Laboratory was designed for the analysis of isotopes at very low concentrations in natural materials, and for research into new techniques and applications of this technology. The Lalonde Laboratory is located in uOttawa’s new Advanced Research Complex (ARC), a state-of-the-art, open-concept, research-only building designed to integrate students and researchers from across Canada and the world and to foster innovation and interdisciplinarity in the Geosciences and Photonics.

The cornerstone of the laboratory is a custom-built 3 MV tandem accelerator mass spectrometer manufactured by High Voltage Engineering. It has been designed to analyze an array of isotopes, including 3H, 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl, 129I, 236U and, of course, 14C. In addition, a second injector line, the uOttawa Innovation line, will integrate new AMS technologies, such as the use of low energy ion-gas reaction cells to eliminate interferences from atomic isobars and the use of photonic selection techniques. The spectrometer, located adjacent to the ARC's glazed entrance foyer, is a central feature which highlights the technology of Canada's only AMS to our students – our next generation of researchers.

Did You Know?

  • An accelerator mass spectrometer uses an ion source, accelerator, electric and magnetic analyzers, and a particle detector to count single radioactive atoms in the presence of a quadrillion stable atoms. 1x1015 stable atoms is equivalent to 1 grain of sand in 1km2 of desert.
  • 12C atoms leave the accelerator at a speed of approximately 11,992,000 meters per second, that's 1⁄25 the speed of light.