Carbon 14 useful radioactive dating not nuclear medicine


07-Apr-2015 16:32

There are two accelerator systems commonly used for radiocarbon dating through accelerator mass spectrometry.

One is the cyclotron, and the other is a tandem electrostatic accelerator.

Thanks to nuclear physics, mass spectrometers have been fine-tuned to separate a rare isotope from an abundant neighboring mass, and accelerator mass spectrometry was born.

Although both radiocarbon dating methods produce high-quality results, they are fundamentally different in principle.Mass spectrometers detect atoms of specific elements according to their atomic weights.They, however, do not have the sensitivity to distinguish atomic isobars (atoms of different elements that have the same atomic weight, such as in the case of carbon 14 and nitrogen 14—the most common isotope of nitrogen).After pretreatment, samples for radiocarbon dating are prepared for use in an accelerator mass spectrometer by converting them into a solid graphite form.

Radiometric dating methods detect beta particles from the decay of carbon 14 atoms while accelerator mass spectrometers count the number of carbon 14 atoms present in the sample.Both carbon dating methods have advantages and disadvantages.



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