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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.
There are two accelerator systems commonly used for radiocarbon dating through accelerator mass spectrometry.
These metal discs are then mounted on a target wheel so they can be analyzed in sequence.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.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.A method has finally been developed to detect carbon 14 in a given sample and ignore the more abundant isotopes that swamp the carbon 14 signal.
These two radiocarbon dating methods use modern standards such as oxalic acid and other reference materials.