Radio carbon dating theory
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.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.Ions from a cesium gun are then fired at the target wheel, producing negatively ionized carbon atoms.These negatively ionized carbon atoms pass through focusing devices and an injection magnet before reaching the tandem accelerator where they are accelerated to the positive terminal by a voltage difference of two million volts.
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.
Burning the samples to convert them into graphite, however, also introduces other elements into the sample like nitrogen 14.
When the samples have finally been converted into few milligrams of graphite, they are pressed on to a metal disc.
These two radiocarbon dating methods use modern standards such as oxalic acid and other reference materials.
Although both radiocarbon dating methods produce high-quality results, they are fundamentally different in principle.
At this stage, other negatively charged atoms are unstable and cannot reach the detector.