Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility

The Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle facility is a laboratory that’s dedicated to measuring the minute amounts of radioactive carbon: radiocarbon. Our equipment allows us to undertake sample preparation, graphitisation and the measurement of 14C by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS). Capable of dating back 50,000 years, the Chronos Facility is dedicated to understanding how the planet has changed in the past and what this means for the future. To help us in this endeavour, UNSW has exclusive access to ancient wood, remote sub-Antarctic trees, Antarctic ice, aquifers and sedimentary sequences that span tens of millennia.

The Chronos Facility was launched in November 2019 and is located in the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre at UNSW. Chronos is an important addition to UNSW as it further enhances our reputation as a leader in the Earth and Climate Sciences and will be the source of new discoveries at UNSW Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

At the Chronos Facility, we make thousands of radiocarbon measurements a year. Our mini carbon dating system (MICADAS) is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It allows UNSW researchers to spearhead a revolution in understanding the Earth’s climate-carbon system. With this Facility, we hope to reduce the uncertainties surrounding the impacts of climate change.

Beyond the University, researchers from the Chronos 14 Carbon-Cycle facility are collaborating with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to train a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers needed to meet the environmental challenges of the future.

“The insights afforded by this facility will provide an improved understanding of the global drivers and impacts of future climate, whilst also allowing us to investigate the adverse impact of past extreme environmental events. Closely tied to this, Chronos will help improve our knowledge of environment-human interactions across Australia and around the world.”

- Professor Chris Turney, Director of the Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility.