The National Laboratory for Cosmogenic Nucleides (LN2C) founded by Didier Bourlès has been hosted by CEREGE on the Technopôle de l’Arbois in Aix-en-Provence since 2006. It is a structure dedicated to the use of cosmogenic nuclides in Earth and Universe Sciences, including sample preparation and AMS measurements.
LN2C is composed of 7 sample preparation units:
Physical and chemical rock treatment laboratory
This laboratory is intended for the physical pre-treatment of rock samples and the extraction and purification target minerals (quartz) from which the cosmogenic nuclides of interest will be extracted. This laboratory has two crushers, a sieving place and two magnetic separators.
Extraction laboratory for the analysis of in-situ produced 10Be and 26Al
This laboratory allows the chemical treatment purification and isolation of the elements (Be and Al) essential before isotopic measurement. It consists of 3 preparation units with 5 workstations (2 conventional fume cupboards + 3 fume cupboards for handling HF). In 2021 an extension has been created with four more preparation units with compact fume hoods without ducting system.
Extraction laboratory for the analysis of 10Be of atmospheric origin
This laboratory allows the chemical treatment purification and isolation of Be for the study of 10Be in water and sediments. Due to the isotope ratios 10Be/9The laboratory is physically separated from the other extraction laboratories and is expected to be several orders of magnitude higher than those measured in situ. This laboratory is equipped with 2 fume cupboards and a hood with 2 sediment leaching baths.
Extraction laboratory for the analysis of in-situ produced 36Cl
This laboratory allows the chemical treatment purification and isolation of Cl (cosmogenic isotope 36Cl) from carbonate and silicate rocks. Due to the nature of the chemicals used in the other extraction methods (chlorinated products), it is physically separated from the other laboratories.
Extraction laboratory for the analysis of 36Cl in soil or organic material
This laboratory allows the chemical treatment purification and isolation of Cl (cosmogenic isotope 36Cl) from soil or organic material under oxygen flux coupled to an oven and water traps.
Target preparation laboratory
This laboratory is intended for the pelleting of samples and the preparatory steps for their measurement on the ASTER Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS).
Our AMS is a 5MV HVEE machine dedicated to the measurement of cosmogenic nuclides (mostly 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl and when needed 129I, 41Ca). The machine is running all year long measuring ~5 000 targets, standards, and blanks.
LN2C’s main areas of competence:
Our mission is to provide the French scientific community with efficient access to these methods in the context of research projects in the following areas, among others
- the natural hazards and risks. The following are examples of the types of damage that can be caused by earthquakes or landslides
- the past evolution of the climate for example with the dating of markers associated with the ice ages
- the landscape dynamics and the determination of current and past erosion rates
- the dating of archaeological sites
- the evolution of the magnetic field over time
Our staff may prepare sample but also can train external visitors in the preparation of samples.