The liquid scintillation spectrometer is a versatile instrument for the measurement and analysis of low-energy beta emitters, especially hydrogen-3 (tritium) and carbon-14. On the other hand, biological materials as well as environmental samples are most difficult to prepare as true solutions for liquid scintillation counting and present unique problems in sample preparation. To overcome problems of sample solubility, quenching, and chemiluminescence, a more universal preparation technique can be achieved if the sample is burned at red heat in an atmosphere of oxygen and the carbon and hydrogen converted into carbon dioxide and water and quantitatively dissolved in a scintillator to produce an unquenched sample. A number of methods of oxidizing samples for liquid scintillation counting are discussed. Experimental studies using carbon-14 and tritium are presented and potential application to biological and environmental problems are considered.

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