University of Vienna, Austria

The University of Vienna is the oldest university in the German-speaking world and one of the largest in Central Europe with currently about 85,000 students enrolled in 186 degree programs.

The Faculty of Physics focuses on fundamental research with an open eye for and competencies in applications, innovations and physics education.

The scientific focus of the Isotope Physics group is the advancement of ultra-trace analysis of (mainly) long-lived radionuclides by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS). Research is centred around the Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator (VERA), a dedicated facility for AMS based on a 3 MV Tandem accelerator.

Only AMS reaches the selectivity and sensitivity to single out the very small number of radionuclides at natural levels where abundance sensitivities are of typically 10–15 and lower. AMS data analysed in (extra-)terrestrial materials can answer questions in various fields of applications including advanced materials characterization.

VERA has substantially contributed to the success of AMS and is recognized in the AMS community worldwide as one of the best facilities for development of new methods and instrumentation. VERA is on par with other excellent AMS facilities and often defines the state-of-the-art for the established AMS isotopes 10Be, 14C, 26Al, 36Cl, 41Ca, 129I, 236U, 239,240,244Pu.

Recent and on-going technical developments at VERA expand(ed) the scope of AMS significantly. The yet world-wide unique Ion-Laser Interaction Mass Spectrometry (ILIAMS) system allows (90Sr, 135/137Cs, 182Hf) or will allow in the near future (53Mn, 59Ni, 79Se, 93Zr, 99Tc) the detection of even more interesting isotopes.


UW’s main areas of competence:

  • development of new methods for AMS and instrumentation
  • development of new methods and enhancement for AMS sample preparation
  • special expertise in the fields of radiocarbon dating, applications in Earth and environmental research, cosmochemistry, nuclear, and astrophysics

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The Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator (VERA) at the University of Vienna © Silke MerchelVERA's ILIAMS (Ion-Laser Interaction Mass Spectrometry) beamline © University of ViennaLong-lived radionuclides measurable by AMS at VERA and other large tandem facilities © University of Vienna.




University of Vienna
Faculty of Physics
Isotope Physics
Währinger Strasse 17
1090 Vienna



Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) – PI
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Robin Golser

Sample preparation for AMS
Dipl.-Chem. Dr. Silke Merchel

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