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Facts About PRIME Lab

The Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory (PRIME Lab) is a dedicated research and user facility for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). AMS is an ultra-sensitive analytical technique for measuring long-lived radionuclides. Our mission is to provide measurements of long-lived radionuclides for researchers at Purdue University, at other universities, at national laboratories, and at agencies providing measurements of environmental levels of long-lived radionuclides in the U.S. and throughout the world.

PRIME Lab facilities include the AMS system, based on a tandem electrostatic accelerator, and those laboratories needed for physical preparation of samples and the chemical separation and purification of long-lived radionuclides.

We routinely run 10Be, 14C, 26Al, 36Cl, 41Ca, and 129I. The run times for each nuclide are scheduled several months in advance; the schedule is updated regularly.

New users are welcome to browse our web pages to obtain information about the scientific basis for the applications of these radionuclides and obtain pricing information. Users must have an ID before samples can be submitted. Returning users may login at any time with their existing ID.


The PRIME Lab building is located below ground, adjacent to the Physics & Astronomy Building on the Purdue campus. The building contains 31,070 sq ft of floor space with 14 offices and 16 laboratories. Chemical preparation laboratories (1,070 sq ft) have been constructed in the Chemistry building.

PDF Download - PRIME Lab Facilities

Look here for several photographs of PRIME Lab.


Purdue University dedicated its tandem accelerator to accelerator mass spectrometry in 1989; external funding began in April 1990; and the first AMS measurements took place in early 1991. The internal upgrade of the accelerator, which included new acceleration tubes and a new charging system, took place from December 1993 through April 1994. The upgrade of the analyzing magnet to fast isotope switching took place November 1998 through February 1999. The upgrade of the injector magnet is taking place in February 2001.


Purdue University has contributed over $0.5 million to start up the facility and to match grants from outside the university. Funds to upgrade the accelerator and AMS system were provided by grants from the W.M. Keck Foundation ($0.75 million and $0.5 million) and the National Science Foundation/Academic Research Infrastructure Program ($1.5 and $1.2 million). Operating support is provided by the NSF Earth Science Division/Instrumentation and Facilities Program (currently about $500,000 per year) and by income from sample measurements for scientists funded by the NSF, US Geological Survey, Department of Energy, and other agencies.