The Canada Foundation for Innovation has awarded more than $1.3 million to the André E. Lalonde Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy Laboratory at the University of Ottawa. The only one of its kind in Canada, the lab is one of 14 national research facilities to receive support for ongoing operation and maintenance from the Major Science Initiatives Fund.
“Since its opening in 2014, the André E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory has continually made its mark across Canada and around the world thanks to its highly trained researchers and unique sophisticated equipment,” said Vice-President, Research Sylvain Charbonneau. “The Canada Foundation for Innovation’s vital support will help us pursue the lab’s ground-breaking research activities and build on one of the University of Ottawa’s new strategic goals, which is to create a sustainable environment.”
Located in the Advanced Research Complex, the laboratory is recognized worldwide for its expertise in analyzing trace concentrations of radioisotopes, both those found naturally in the environment and those resulting from human activities. Researchers are working on environmental issues, such as soil and water contamination due to nuclear activities, the assessment of potential nuclear waste isolation sites, and oil spill remediation. They are also using the accelerator mass spectrometer to radiocarbon date archeological artifacts that could provide clues to the earliest migrations and technological developments of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
Radiocarbon analysis is also at the core of environmental projects, including the cycling of carbon in the oceans, in agricultural watersheds and in Arctic permafrost terrains experiencing thaw.