Mini Carbon Dating System

Highest performance with the world’s smallest AMS system: The Mini Carbon Dating System MICADAS is a true precision instrument for your ¹⁴C applications. With its permanent magnet and new design, the MICADAS is also the most energy efficient AMS in the world and has the lowest infrastructure requirements. 

The first prototype of MICADAS was developed and built by the Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics at ETH Zurich in 2004. Since then more than 20 instruments have been built and delivered to customers worldwide. MICADAS has demonstrated highest performance and reliability and has become the new standard in ¹⁴C-AMS.


With its dimensions of only 3.2 m x 2.6 m x 2 m, MICADAS is the most compact commercially available ¹⁴C-AMS system in the world. Its helium stripping offers a very high transmission of up to 47 % and outstanding measurement stability, thus significantly reducing the need for retuning.

The MICADAS hybrid cesium sputter ion source is equipped with a random-access sample changer that holds up to 40 graphite or gas cathodes. Stable ion beam currents of 50 to 150 μA and 10 to 20 μA C- are readily achieved in routine operation with solid, liquid and gas samples, respectively.

The acceleration potential of 200 kV is provided by a solidstate power supply without any moving parts, the terminal is vacuum insulated – no SF or other insulation gases are required. A state of the art gas ionization detector with low noise and virtually no degradation provides the most reliable detection of ¹⁴C ions. With this configuration, blanks older than 50‘000 radiocarbon years are readily obtained.


In conjunction with the Gas Interface System GIS, MICADAS performs fully automated gas measurements with an auto sampler, an Elemental Analyzer EA  or CO filled glass or quartz tubes. MICADAS is therefore also the most powerful choice for your small samples and high throughput applications.



•  ACS software enables easy remote access such as a fully automated system with an automated and fast tuning

• Enhanced lab management package LMP including database, data reduction software such as printer (QR code) and scanner device

•  High measurement stability over long time

​•  Fully automated gas measurements with GIS

•  Fast magazine changes for continuous measurements without breaking the vacuum or cooling down any part of the ion source

•  Low space requirements through very compact design (recommended room size 5 m x 6 m)

•  Extremely low power consumption of 2.5 kW

•  Control system including OS and ACS with alarm and interlock system such as a built-in back up system and data base server (including UPS for control system)

•  The system is fully air-cooled, no cooling water needed

•  Hybrid cesium negative sputter ion source for solid and gas cathodes

•  Vacuum insulated accelerator terminal without any moving parts, no SF needed

•  Minimal maintenance, comprehensive tool set included


•  Helium stripping (up to 47 % ¹⁴C-transmission)

•  Negative ion currents of 50 to 150 μA on full-sized graphite
    samples and 10 to 20 µA on gas samples (10 µg carbon or more)

•  Vacuum insulated 200 kV tandem accelerator with a cost saving, maintenance free solid-state power supply, voltage stability +-20V

•  Dating of samples back to more than 1.5x10^-15 radiocarbon years

•  Machine blank up to 2x10^-16 radiocarbon years

•  Random access sample changer with 40 positions

•  Dimensions and weight: 3.2 m x 2.6 m x 2.2 m, 4’500 kg

•  Low noise gas ionization detector

•  Cost saving permanent magnets, 2.5 kW average power consumption

•  Powerful high vacuum system (4 x 700 l, 3 x 300 l, 1 x 80 l Pfeiffer) and fore vacuum system (2x7.2 m3/h pumping speed, 0.04mbar end pressure)

•  Precision with a modern reference material: 0.2% or better for 14C/12C and 13C/12C ratios

•  Ion optic setup consisting of 90° ion beam angle high and low energy magnet (0.5amu MeV and 3.5amu MeV) and a 90° electrostatic analyzer +- 40 kV (r 380mm)

• Very low radiation limit of 0.2 uSv/h max. (10cm of the machine surface)



GIS and its peripherals (Elemental Analyzer EA, CHS 2, IRMS) make MICADAS and MILEA the most versatile ¹⁴C instruments on the market.

Find here a few examples of the coupling and measurement possibilities: