23October2017

The IFAN radiocarbon laboratory

Professor Cheikh Anta Diop created the radiocarbon laboratory (LC14) in 1965 at the Institut Francophone d’Afrique Noire (IFAN), University of Dakar, Senegal.

After his passing in 1986, the laboratory entered in a long hibernation. From 1999, it took about 3 years to renovate the laboratory and reinstall new equipments in order to return LC14 to full functionality and resume its activity. A new radiocarbon dating system has been implemented around a super low-level liquid scintillation spectrometer from Packard, the Tri-Carb 3170TR/LS.

Since 2003, the radiocarbon laboratory has been present at the different radiocarbon conferences for oral or poster presentations.

One focus of the work carried out in the laboratory deals with the quality of the measurements. As a result, calibration occupied a wide part of the activity. In particular, the determination of the marine reservoir effect has been done for Senegalese and Mauritanian coastal sites. The results show unambiguously the necessity to take into account this effect in the calibration.

The IFAN radiocarbon laboratory maintains a strong collaboration with the university institute for applied nuclear technology (ITNA). Many students from ITNA find at LC14 a dependable host laboratory where they can prepare their post-graduate diploma.