Working with Isotopes

The Vessels in the US ARF are general purpose vessels and therefore, at different times, host science parties using radioisotopes, natural isotopes and stable isotopes.   It is important that each group work to keep the vessel clean and prevent contamination that may jeapordize another party's research.

If Using Radioisotopes:

  • Contact the vessel operator to ask about their particular policies and procedures.  The radioisotope approval process can take time so start early.
  • Make yourself and your fellow radioisotopes users aware of the problems that radioisotopes can cause on natural isotopes work by reviewing the UNOLS Radioisotope Awareness information. 

If Conducting Natural Isotope Work:

  • The US ARF Vessels are regularly tested for 14C and 3H via the University of Miami’s Tritium Laboratory and specifically the Operation SWAB program.   Previous vessel SWAB test results can be found in the UNOLS Document Repository by searching on the Vessel Name and SWAB (e.g. Revelle SWAB) to find records of the SWAB test results. 

If Using Stable Isotopes:

  • It is important to discuss stable isotope use with the vessel operator.  Each institution has their own policies and procedures regarding the use of stable isotopes onboard their vessels.  The UNOLS Stable Isotope Recommendation is a good point of reference but the operating institution has the final word. 

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