Radioactive dating in archaeology
Detectors at different angles of deflection then count the particles.At the end of an AMS run, data gathered is not only the number of carbon 14 atoms in the sample but also the quantity of carbon 12 and carbon 13.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.In mass analysis, a magnetic field is applied to these moving charged particles, which causes the particles to deflect from the path they are traveling.If the charged particles have the same velocity but different masses, as in the case of the carbon isotopes, the heavier particles are deflected least.An accelerator mass spectrometer, although a powerful tool, is also a costly one.
These metal discs are then mounted on a target wheel so they can be analyzed in sequence.
There are essentially two parts in the process of radiocarbon dating through accelerator mass spectrometry.
The first part involves accelerating the ions to extraordinarily high kinetic energies, and the subsequent step involves mass analysis.
At this stage, molecules that may be present are eliminated because they cannot exist in this triple charged state.
The carbon atoms with triple positive charge further accelerate away from the positive terminal and pass through another set of focusing devices where mass analysis occurs.
Ions from a cesium gun are then fired at the target wheel, producing negatively ionized carbon atoms.